Meet Maria Solis: Founder of Latinos Run and Latinas Run.
Running to champion health and wellness in the Latino community.
There are many good reasons to run; for physical health, for mental health, to connect with a community, to inspire others, to push yourself. Maria Solis runs for all these reasons. She's the founder of two online communities, Latinos Run and Latinas Run, that work to give Latino runners in the United States an amplified voice and a community of mutual encouragement and inspiration. In doing so, these communities help to promote a healthy lifestyle and push for more equal representation in the running industry in general.
We were delighted to support Maria with product in the lead-up to her 2020 Boston Marathon run as part of the inspirational Hylands team of Community Builders. This year's edition of the famous event has been happening virtually over the duration of the last week, and we hope that the disruption has had unexpected positive results for all the runners, just as it has for running communities as a whole. Read on to find out more.
The Lightest Tread (TLT): Tell us who you are, where you’re from and a little bit about yourself.
Maria Solis (MS): My name is Maria Solis Belizaire. I am from New York City. I am a marathoner, blogger, adventurer, and epic trail seeker. I am also the founder of 2 amazing groups Latinos Run & Latinas Run that service over 25,000 runners around the world.
TLT: Why do you run?
MS: I run not only for my own mental and physical health, but also to inspire a community that has largely been ignored when it comes to their health.
TLT: Tell us about the role running has played in your life.
MS: Running has played an important role in my life. I have been running since I was a kid and it has helped to keep me grounded and motivated in life.
With restaurants and many shops closed or people feeling more cautious to spend too much time indoors, it has inspired more people to try new outdoor activities.
TLT: Tell us about Latinos Run, and Latinas Run and why you founded these platforms.
MS: Latinos Run and Latinas Run are two running platforms that promote running as way to improve physical and mental health within Latino community. I created these groups as a safe space for runners to feel welcome in the running community. Our focus is on athletes who are passionate about running and focused on living a healthier life. As minority based organizations, we celebrate diversity and aim to highlight a community that has largely been ignored when it comes to their health while inspiring more individuals to change the way the running industry looks.
TLT: Social media can often be a toxic environment, how do you work to ensure that your online communities remain positive and mutually supportive?
MS: We have a non drama club. We do not allow any inappropriate comments in our group, while still allowing members to express themselves respectfully.
TLT: 2020 has obviously been tumultuous and challenging on many levels; has the year (so far) also presented unique opportunities for Latinos Run?
MS: This year with all its challenges has also given people an opportunity to go outdoors. With restaurants and many shops closed or people feeling more cautious to spend too much time indoors, it has inspired more people to try new outdoor activities. For Latinos Run and Latinas Run, we have seen a spike in membership and more engagement on all of our platforms.
TLT: How can people get involved and support Latinos Run and Latinas Run?
MS: A person can get involved by joining our facebook group, joining us at an event, or by tagging us in post #LatinosRun #LatinasRun
TLT: Are you participating in the virtual marathon in September? If so, how do you get yourself pumped up to run a marathon on your own?
MS: I am participating in Boston Virtual. It will be my 1st virtual marathon. I have mapped out where I will run and my music playlist is ready to keep me pumped.