First timer shares motivation for tackling Gate River Run

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some will say that regardless of the weather, the hardest River Run is the first. Just getting over that hump—literally in some cases—and proving to yourself that you can complete the 15K can be a big obstacle.

There are countless first-timers in the field each year. One that News4JAX met this week, Vidya Ramachandran, said she had been preparing for Saturday’s race for nearly a year after joining Moms on the Run.

“You set your own goals, and that’s what I wanted to do,” the 50-year-old said of joining the running group.

She said the shift to becoming a runner was prompted by another life change: becoming an empty nester.

So far, “V,” as her friends call her, has run three 5Ks. After training for more than six months, she finished the Thanksgiving Distance Classic, which was a very proud moment.

She said that helped her feel ready to tackle her first 15K with Saturday’s Gate River Run – a race she’s heard about since she moved to Jacksonville because of her TV station of choice: News4JAX.

“But I never had the courage to even think of running,” she said.

Vidya said she couldn’t have gotten to this point without the support of her running group—and the friendships she’s made as she put in the miles of training.

“However slow you are, or one day you just can’t get your legs to move, you will have somebody with you to run,” she said. “And it’s not just running. I find they are helping me build on my strength.”

Vidya completed Saturday’s River Run in 2:14:21.

About the Authors:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.