Ashley Garica is on a quest to run a race in all 50 states. Read more of her amazing running journey below.

Hi, I’m Ashley Garcia and my husband is Ryan.

How did you get into running? I began walking before running, completing my first race in 2012 – the Irish Festival 5K. I truly felt like a runner when I began training for a 10K in 2018 and learned about interval training.

Favorite thing about running? It is the community and how I have gained so many positive friends through running. I love that running is for everyone and it has really taught me how to understand my body and feel confident in any body type, that I am strong, that I can now do things that I didn’t think I once could. I love the events, nothing is better than the rush and community of a race. Finally, I love that this sport has expanded to my love for travel with my husband, and me working toward a race in every state.

Favorite race(s) in Central Ohio? I will always love the Irish Festival 5K because it is a great kick-off to a weekend festival that is a favorite part of summer, it was my first race and my first sub40 5k. Two other races stand out, as well. The first is so unique and attracts my love for travel – the John Glenn Airport 5K. This race is amazing because you actually get to run on the runway at the airport while the planes are taking off and landing. The other favorite is the Shawshank Hustle 7K. It challenges me every year and is a true event that celebrates a great movie. Ryan and I are lifers; we have run each year since it was created and will be back on August 14 for number 7.

What advice would you give to someone just getting started? Work with a doctor or trainer that understands running. Everyone is different and I really injured myself because I didn’t understand that my core was not activating. Stretching and cross-training are very important. Be easy on yourself because you will have good runs and bad runs but if you finish with a smile on your face it was a good run.

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