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What is your name and how long hav eyou been going to Up and Running?
My name is Katie Fitz and I’ve been going to Up and Running for over 10 years.
What brought you to Up and Running originally?
I first came to Up and Running in high school. As a female cross country athlete, I was excited to hear that Dayton had a new local running store that was also female-owned. After college, I returned to UAR to check out the group runs while training for the Air Force Marathon. I thought I’d do a long run or two with the group, but ended up finding a fantastic family-like community.
How is Up and Running different than other retailers in your area?
One of the biggest things that sets UAR apart from other retailers in the area is the inclusive community of runners and walkers of all experiences and goals. As a teacher who works with a wide variety of students, I value communities that promote the inclusion of all. UAR does just that and welcomes all abilities, whether you are running your first 5k or multiple 50ks.
What's one of the most memorable experiences you've had with Up and Running (volunteering, at an event or a group run, or whatever comes to mind)?
This is a tough one because I’ve had so many great memories with the UAR community. I’d probably have to say my most memorable experience has been a collection of runs over the years and the people I’ve met as a result. UAR has a way of bringing together people of all backgrounds, running experiences, careers, and stages of life. If it wasn’t for running, I’m not sure our paths would have crossed, but I’m so grateful for the miles and memories we’ve shared together. Nothing beats enduring a tough run together and then sharing a cup of coffee and camaraderie to celebrate afterward. The community of UAR has helped me to challenge myself as a runner and beyond.
Why is it important to you to give back to your community?
Giving back to my community is important knowing the impact teachers have in the lives of their students, especially as an English as a Second Language teacher. Every day, I witness the transformative process of learning English. English is not just a language; it's a gateway to opportunities – better jobs, higher education, and a deeper connection to the world around us. My current classroom has students who speak 16 different languages and come from 25 different countries. In our ESL program, we're not just teaching language skills; we're building connections within our community and instilling confidence to tackle challenges. My students face a myriad of challenges, including language barriers, cultural adjustments, and academic demands - and this is happening during the already tumultuous teenage years. It is in the handling of these challenges that their resiliency shines and while it is my job to teach my students, I learn from them daily. Language learning is a lot like running. Both are methodical processes that require immense amounts of practice and dedication and results don’t happen overnight. I remind my students, and myself as a runner, that through the process of enduring challenges, we are changed. Running has taught me the power of perseverance and I’m glad to share that knowledge with my students daily. Giving back is a powerful investment in our city's success. Perserverance, a lesson from running, guides my teaching. I encourage my students to dream big, work hard, and face transformative challenges. In challenging my students, I am challenging myself. I see this as a gift to my community through teaching. Small actions can create significant ripple effects.