Meet Holly: Runner, Mom, Coach, SoleMate, Hero

Holly JaminHolly Jamin has a full plate, to say the least. A mom with two daughters, Kate (12) and Abby (10), Holly also owns and runs her own business, an events and marketing company that produces special events around the world. Add to the mix two giant yellow labs, Johnny “Cash” and Captain “Jack” Sparrow, and one can imagine time is at a premium in the busy household.

Did we mention that Holly is also a marathoner, coach, SoleMate charity runner, and FLEET FEET Training Team member?

The FLEET FEET Training Team has partnered with one of the coolest charity organizations out there, Girls on the Run, a life-changing prevention program that uses running and a fun, experienced-based curriculum to inspire young girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident. We are honored to offer St. Louis runners the opportunity to train with us (5K, 10K, half marathon, or full marathon) while raising money for this outstanding charity.

Holly recently took time from her full schedule to share with us her experience running, training, and coaching as a FLEET FEET Training Team member and a Girls on the Run SoleMate. In her words, it feels like she’s “saving the world in my own little head several times over.”

We invite you to read Holly’s story—and learn how you can train with FLEET FEET as a SoleMate!

FF: When did you start running?

HJ: I started running in 1999, just after Kate was born. I needed a quick way to feel like my healthy, happy self again after having my first baby. Running worked miracles on my body and mind. I ran my first 5K six months after Kate was born. At that first race, I turned the last corner and stopped just short of the finish line (which I hadn’t yet noticed). I stepped to the side of the road and put my hands on my knees and started crying, believing there was no way I could finish the race—the absolute longest race in the universe. Then someone from the cheering sidelines shouted, “Look up! Keep going! You’re almost there!” And I did. My eyes widened. I was shocked to see the finish line just thirty yards away. Twelve years, a couple of marathons, and one Hood-to-Coast later, that cheering spectator’s voice still rings loud and clear when the going gets tough. “Look up. Keep going. You are almost there.”

FF: What prompted you to join the FLEET FEET Training Team?

HJ: I joined the FLEET FEET Training team to train properly for a half marathon in January 2011. Although I had trained for and completed several halves and a few full marathons, I had never trained “properly” with a coach and a group. This time, I wanted to train right. I was running for SoleMates, the Girls on the Run Charity, and wanted to get my best time and smoothest finish yet. I got that—along with the friendship and camaraderie of a hundred or so runners. It was fuel that no Power Bar or Sport Bean could possibly provide.

FF: How did you first get involved with Girls on the Run?

HJ: I started coaching Girls on the Run when Kate was in third grade. A friend of mine told me a little bit about the program and suggested I bring my girls to the Fall 5K. When I witnessed a few hundred little red faces and tiny running shoes pounding the pavement and nearing the finish line, and then noticed my own typically reserved and shy daughters cheering these runners on, shouting with joy and encouragement to girls their own age—I knew I needed to bring this program to our elementary school. That spring, we started the program at Kennard Classical Junior Academy. By the next year, we had two full teams of runners, nearly ten coaches, and the support of our entire school family helping us grow the program to what it is today.

FF: How did you become a SoleMate charity runner?

HJ: I became a charity runner that next fall, realizing how important the running shoes were to a few of our families at Kennard. I noticed the scholarships made a big difference as to how many people could participate and how many girls could cross that finish line. I saw the tears of joy on our teammates faces as they looked up at me and said, “I did it! I can’t believe I did it!” I knew that I needed to help get as many girls as possible onto a race course and across a finish line. I knew from each of the thank you notes I received from their families—about how their daughters were changing, were confident, were stretching as they brushed their teeth, were teaching their siblings about how to make healthy choices, teaching their siblings to be strong against outside influences and bullying and all those other dark shadows in the world.

FF: How has being on the FLEET FEET Training Team and being a Girls on the Run SoleMate charity runner inspired your training and racing experience?

HJ: I have been a Girls on the Run coach for five years and a SoleMate twice. …[I] have trained with FLEET FEET twice now and have run my best races each time.

Being on the FFTT has given me strength in numbers. I get to run with one awesome coach, ten to fifteen [pace] teammates, a hundred or so friends, and a giant family of runners from all over the St. Louis area. And in another sense, I’m always improving my numbers! Each week we increase the mileage, and each week I’m working to decrease my finish time. With the planning and the organization provided by FLEET FEET, the positive influence and encouragement from my coach, and the familiar and friendly faces who have joined the program and continue to run with FLEET FEET each season, I have a giant running family that I am thrilled to see each week of training.

Inspired to train with the FLEET FEET Training Team as a SoleMate? Register now or learn more!

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