Celebrating Women and Fitness: Debbie Durrence

January 28th, 2015 | In Running Meets Life, Training

Each Wednesday leading up to the Atlanta Women’s 5K on March 28th, we will highlight women in Atlanta who embody the healthy and active lifestyle that Atlanta Track Club works to promote. These women, whether they walk, run, or do a little of both, have made health and fitness a priority in their lives. We hope that their stories inspire you and your family and friends to join them in their journey of health and fitness!
Debbie, with her daughter, finishing the Soldiers Marathon in Columbus, GA

Debbie, with her daughter, finishing the Soldiers Marathon in Columbus, GA

Today’s post features Debbie Durrence. Debbie is a dedicated Atlanta Track Club member and run leader for multiple Atlanta Track Club training programs. She spends many Saturday mornings with our training programs and is currently a run lead for In-Training for Atlanta Women’s 5K. Here’s Debbie’s story:
  • When did you start running?
    I started in November 2011, although, I really begin working on running in December and January of 2012.
  • How did you start?
    My father (Clarke Peterson) has been a runner for as long as I can remember, but I had never been drawn to running. In 2011, my daughter, then 7, decided that she wanted to “run like her papa”.  Someone had to go with her…so I did.  As kids often do, she began to lose interest, but by then I had seen an email about a 5K race in March.  I asked my dad if he thought I would have enough time to prepare, and he strongly encouraged me to register, agreeing to run it with me.  In early February, I ran my first 3 miles.  It wasn’t fast, but I did it.  My dad was so excited that he said I should join him for a race hosted by the Atlanta Track Club the next weekend (Hearts and Soles 5K).  I was intimidated by the idea of it, but decided to go any way.  We arrived on that cold, damp morning, and I was incredibly nervous.  My dad said he was going to go “warmup” before the race.  I told him that I’d meet him back at the car…didn’t want to waste any energy that I might need to finish!  He was a volunteer coach for Atlanta Track Club, so he introduced me to some other coaches before the race.  As we began, I told him to run his race and I would see him at the finish.  He took off and just hoped I would be able to make it to the end without walking…too much!  As I came down the hill toward the finish, my dad was there waiting and ran me in to the cheers of many of his friends.  I joined Atlanta Track Club the next day.
  • When did you first consider yourself a runner?
    At the end of that race, I began to consider myself a runner.  Crossing that finish line is an experience that can be life changing.  That eventually led me to participate in the In-Training for Peachtree Program and In-Training for the Atlanta Half Marathon program that same year.  I had the opportunity the next year to begin coaching the 5k, Peachtree and Half Marathon training programs.  Last year, I finished my first full marathon through the full marathon training program in the fall.
  • What do you enjoy most about the coaching for Atlanta Women’s 5K?
    I think this program is special because often this is the program where women can discover that they are able to do something that they never imagined possible.  It might be that they can now walk a 5k for the first time, run/walk the race or beat a personal record that they thought they could never overcome.
  • What does being a female runner mean to you?
    As women, we can often tend to lose focus on what we individually can accomplish.  We often are more focused on the needs of our children, spouses, significant others or parents.  As a runner, you can have a win every day.  You can finish that mile just a little faster, breathe a little easier, push yourself up that hill.  It becomes a part of you.
  • What is your favorite part about training at Chastain Park with In-Training for Atlanta Women’s 5K?
    Chastain park is a vibrant part of Atlanta.  There aren’t many other places where you can experience horses, tennis, little league, beautiful rolling hills and neighbors out walking their dogs all in a mile or so.  The park provides the opportunity for runners to train on rolling hills through the paths while also enjoying the activities of others active in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Women’s 5K will take place at Chastain Park on March 28th. Whether you’re looking to run your first or fastest 5K, In-Training for Atlanta Women’s 5K can help you achieve your goals. You can learn more about Atlanta Women’s 5K or In-Training for Atlanta Women’s 5K here. 

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