Charity Miles Champion Elizabeth Gonzales

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I first started running to get back in shape. After 10 over-scheduled years in DC, I needed to take a break from the happy hours, brunches, and drinking that filled my social calendar. But running soon became a time during which I could experience true solitude in a city of over 600,000. Running (and racing) has taught me how to set a goal and achieve it, as well as test my self-discipline, patience, persistence, and strength, both physically and mentally.

The George Washington Parkway Classic was the first of many races during which I began to experience the “runner’s high.” Some people get a runner’s high when they are actually running, but for me, my runner’s high begins at the start of a race. As one athlete in thousands who are there with one reason and one reason alone: To run. The atmosphere is intoxicating and addicting. I’ve since run the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon and the Marine Corp Marathon 10K. And as one of those go-getter, Type-A personalities, I began to fill up my calendar with other athletic activities. I’ve joined multiple volleyball leagues and as a longtime lover of football (I’m an unabashed fan of the Washington Redskins), I joined a co-ed competitive flag football league.


Three years ago, a colleague approached me about Blondes vs Brunettes (BvB) Washington D.C., a non-profit organization that raises money for the Alzheimer’s Association through a football game. I jumped at the chance to join due to the fact that my grandfather, Glen Leonard, or Pa-Pa, a WWII Veteran, passed away from Alzheimer’s when I was a child. I’ve since been a member of Team Blonde, and play in honor of Pa-Pa and for all those who have felt the impact of this horrific disease. In 2015, I decided I wasn’t nearly busy enough. (I had sports 5 days a week after all…so much free time!) I decided to up my game and start running marathons. I was honored to run the 2015 Marine Corp Marathon (MCM) and proudly celebrated the courage and commitment of the Marines who serve on behalf of the U.S.My success in finishing MCM encouraged me to keep running and take a giant leap (over the Atlantic Ocean) and run the 2016 Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon using Charity Miles to log my training runs. During the race, knowing I was raising funds on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association through Charity Miles kept me going during every difficult step and every never-ending mile.


As I embark on another season of BvB and prepare for my third marathon (MCM 2017) I’m proud to log my Charity Miles knowing I’m not just running for myself but for all those individuals who have been touched by Alzheimer’s. Join our team at BvBDC in the Charity Miles app, and help us in our fight against Alzheimer’s!

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