Hello Enthusiastic Athletes!
At age 23, I moved to the United States from Egypt in 2008 to continue my education and earned a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering from The City College of New York. I was not a runner until a good friend of mine introduced me to running. I started with walking first, then jogging and running. I did not know that one day I will become a runner. Running became my passion.
I joined the Run 169 Towns Society which encourages its members to run a race in each town in Connecticut. This organization took me out of my comfort zone. Visiting different towns, running a new course, meeting new people, and supporting a good cause are amazing. I wondered why I did not start earlier.
Not long after, I learned that running can improve your mental and physical health. For example, working as an Electrical Engineer, doing the mathematical calculations and electric circuits analysis, makes me tired at the end of the day. However, going on a run after work on the trail or at the reservoir is refreshing, clears my mind, and makes me ready for a new day.
Runners are supportive! When I started running, I was slow like a turtle. I got tired fast and was about to quit running, but I was supported and encouraged by other runners. They taught me "DO NOT GIVE UP" and "YOU CAN DO IT." They moved me from a 5K distance to 10K, 15K, half and full marathon. They are a big part of my journey.
In return, I want to help others to get to their goal. I am a guide/volunteer with Achilles International CT Chapter to help people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics (Running) in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self esteem, and lower barriers to living a fulfilling life. Crossing the finish line with them is like a personal achievement.
In addition, I organized the inaugural 5K race for the Rocky Hill Cora J. Belden Library. It was a 5K run, walk, and kids run. I wanted everyone of all ages and abilities to participate and be part of this event. This race was a success and it will happen again next year.
My goals are to finish a race in all 169 Towns in Connecticut, run a marathon in each state, and continue to meet individuals who inspire me. The EMPIRE Timing Company is another outlet that will allow me to become a greater part of the running culture.
Mena Shehata, President
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