Vanessa Junkin Embraces Her Run Communities Near and Far


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My guest today has no shortage of topics that we can cover today.

She is connected to the running community on multiple fronts, both online and in person.

I look forward to going a few easy miles with Vanessa Junkin today!

Vanessa Junkin

Traveling By Way Of The Marathon

Vanessa Junkin loves to run marathons for reasons that may not be obvious to a non-runner.

She typically runs two marathons per year and uses the races as an excuse to travel to new places.

To date, she has run a race in 11 different states and hopes to eventually hit all 50.

Her first time conquering the marathon was in 2013; since then, she has dabbled in various terrain and distances.

Vanessa recently completed the Algonquin 50k near her hometown.

During her time racing, Vanessa has found that all races provide different challenges for various reasons.

A Long History Of Running

Vanessa is 42 and first began running around 19 years ago.

Her first introduction to running was right before she entered high school.

In order to make the soccer team, Vanessa was required to run a mile in under 8 minutes.

She was able to complete the requirement, but she didn’t have the ball skills needed to make the team.

Vanessa didn’t make the cut for the basketball team either and it was then that she turned to track.

The track team allowed everyone to be on the team and Vanessa loved it so much that she did it all 4 years.

As a senior in high school, she also ran for the cross country team, where she fell even more in love with running.


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Climbing The Distance Ladder

Vanessa’s journey with running has been a somewhat smooth progression.

She worked her way up the distance ladder with her first 10-mile race in 2009.

From there she completed her first half marathon in 2011 and her first marathon in 2013.

Prior to completing her first half marathon, she had plans to do a 20k race in preparation.

Vanessa had so much fun running with friends that her 20k race turned into close to 42k.

Her running times/paces have waxed and waned over the years in accordance with life.

Vanessa has slowed a bit in the last few years due to breathing issues and bouts of plantar fasciitis.

She is working towards getting faster again but is also trying to set reasonable goals.

Vanessa Junkin

Staying Patient

Vanessa last had a PR in 2014 and is learning to be patient and embrace the process.

Rather than set a goal to beat her PR, she will set goals to beat times from the previous year.

She added strength training and yoga in the hopes of creating a stronger more resilient body.

Vanessa is focused on doing what she can to improve while still finding joy in the sport.

All of her efforts are resulting in her slowly chipping away at her time goals.

At the beginning of each month, Vanessa tracks her progress as a way to stay on track.

A Moving Target

Along with focusing on her own goals, Vanessa also likes to help others reach their goals.

She has found that being a pacer for a race is a great way to do that.

Vanessa has paced various races and sees herself as a sort of moving target that others can latch onto.

The key to successfully pacing a race is to run a time that is slower than your typical race pace.

As a rule, Vanessa only paces flat courses, because that is what she is most comfortable with.

Pacing requires a different mindset than when she is running for herself.

The last mile of the race as a pacer is the most stressful for Vanessa.

Her duty as a pacer requires her to cross the finish line exactly at the required pace time.

Vanessa Junkin

She Runs By the Seashore

Vanessa has had her blog She Runs By the Seashore since 2014.

Her blog initially started with a different name under different circumstances.

Vanessa used to be a local news reporter in Maryland.

While at that job, she started a blog at the news website called Road to the Marathon.

After leaving her job is when She Runs By the Seashore was created.

Vanessa started her blog simply because she loves running and writing.

Her blog typically consists of recaps about her races, product reviews, and monthly wrap-ups.

Vanessa can’t imagine not doing it and enjoys looking back on old posts.

Eastern Shore Running Club

A big draw for Vanessa to run is people.

That explains how she became the president of her local running club.

Vanessa joined the Eastern Shore Running Club in 2013.

She enjoyed the experience so much that she went on to become the secretary in 2013, a position she did for 7 years.

Once she retired from the secretary position she went on to become president and is in her second year.

The club has expanded over the years and currently has over 180 members.

Vanessa started group runs in 2016 as a way for all members to feel welcome.

Along with providing a welcoming community of runners, the club also offers a scholarship for youth runners.


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Vanessa Junkin has her own goals, but it's helping others reach their goals that truly bring her joy. Share on X


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