Today we’re talking about helping the homeless and transforming lives through the power of running.
Most of us know that running, and regular exercise in general, can provide us with many physical health benefits such as stronger muscles and bones, improved circulation and cardiovascular health, and the ability to maintain a healthy weight.
But there are also many other advantages to incorporating an exercise like running into our regular routines, such as improved memory and focus, elevated mood, growth of new blood vessels to nourish the brain, and higher energy levels. According to Dr. David J. Linden, a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “Exercise has a dramatic anti-depressive effect. It blunts the brain’s response to physical and emotional stress.”
My guest today, April Cargill, who is 57 years old and born and raised in Harlem, NY, began running at her local YMCA 10 years ago, after finally kicking her smoking habit of over 36 years. Since then, she has run several official road races, including 11 full marathons (3 of them overseas), 22 half marathons, and countless smaller mileages.
April’s next endeavor will be running in the 2022 Boston Marathon, which is known as the world’s oldest annual marathon, ranking as one of the world’s best-known road racing events. The Boston Marathon draws in over 30,000 runners to Massachusetts and is part of the World Marathon Majors which makes it at the top of any runner’s bucket list.
Not only is April running through eight cities and towns in the 2022 Boston Marathon on April 18th, but she has also been chosen out of many applicants to run for an amazing charity called Back on My Feet (BoMF), an organization that seeks to revolutionize the way society approaches homelessness.
This national organization operating in 15 major cities across the U.S. works to combat homelessness through the power of running, community support, and essential employment and housing resources. Their unique model demonstrates that if you first restore confidence, strength, and self-esteem, individuals are better equipped to tackle the road ahead. For individuals in need, they hope to provide an environment that promotes accountability, practical training and employment resources for achieving independence, and a community that offers compassion and hope.
April joins us today to discuss how mentally healing running has been for her over the years, proving to help break through some of the struggles and stresses of life, and explains what it takes to get into a marathon. She also shares how her own experience with homelessness when she was very young makes an organization like Back On My Feet hit very close to home and keeps her running and doing what she can to make a difference.
By signing up for the Back On My Feet team, April has agreed to raise $10,000 to help our country’s homeless population get back on their feet through the power of fitness and community to motivate and support them every step of the way from homelessness to independence. Please help April contribute toward helping transform the lives of those in need, and know that no amount is too small to make a difference!
April Cargill, 57 years old, was born and raised in Harlem, NY, and is the mother of a teenage son, Aubrey. As a fashion industry veteran for the past 35 years, April currently is the Director of Production for Shoshanna and has worked under notable names such as Isaac Mizrahi and Vivienne Tam.
April began running at her local YMCA 10 years ago, after finally kicking her smoking habit of over 36 years. “I just ran for cardio because I was worried I would gain weight and I also wanted to improve my health and lifestyle. It quickly became a daily habit. I ran for an hour at least 6 days a week and became close friends with an amazing road runner, Suzanne Nabavi.” It wasn’t until November 2014 when April went to cheer on Sue for her first Marathon that she was inspired by all of the energy that not only Sue had, but the thousands of runners at the race.
April was eager to get out there and shortly after she joined the New York Road Runners, a group that organizes most of the major races in NYC. Following Sue’s guidance, April signed up for the lottery entry for the NYC Half Marathon the following March 2015… to her surprise, she got in. It became her first official race.
Since then, April has run several official road races, including 11 full marathons (3 of them overseas), 22 half marathons, and countless smaller mileages. Her goal is to complete all 6 World Majors Marathons and earn the beautiful Six Star Medal.
Within her first year of road racing, she was introduced and encouraged to join November Project, a free fitness group of runners that now has 52 tribes nationally, and internationally. She quickly adapted to their fast-paced, energizing, early morning sessions. Training with NP three times a week, April then met Amir Figueroa, Captain and Cofounder of Harlem Run, a running group in her hometown. Amir recruited her to join and she quickly jumped on the opportunity to be a part of something known as a positive movement in the Harlem community, something she takes much pride in. She now also trains with them at least once a week.
April is one of 5 ambassadors of PS You Got This, the brainchild of supermodel Candice Hoffine; a group dedicated to encouraging women of all ages, backgrounds, and at any fitness abilities to start running.
She is also one of 4 founders/captains of the Saturday Morning Run Crew. They are a group of early rising runners from various run crews who come together once a week to do their long runs. The route changes week to week which takes them to all boroughs and sometimes New Jersey to keep it interesting. The most heartfelt achievement of all is that April inspired her son, Aubrey, Alumni of Cardinal Hayes High School, currently attending LaGuardia Community College, to take part in her training groups, run as many NYRR road races as her, and was the Captain of his Varsity Cross Country Team in HS.
“I happen to know that when you run, you work through so many of your issues, so many of your thoughts, so many of your feelings, so many of your emotions. It’s a self-discovery type of thing, and a healthy way to work through whatever it is you need to work through.” – April Cargill
Check out the video below to watch our interview:
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- Learn More About Back On My Feet
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