Dannielle McNeilly

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

WCW /// Before I started this blog I did a whole lot of research on street running. I was not interested in people who ran laps around the field yes they are runners but they were not who I wanted to focus on. I wanted to shift the focus onto the street runners. The runners who dodge traffic and make the streets their playground. 

I was introduced to crews, much like my own hidden in cities around the world. Black Roses NYC, I feel like if I lived in NYC, they would be my crew. Tearing up the nights...

My name is Dannielle. I'm from the greatest place on earth- Brooklyn and I’m 29 years old. Most call me Danni but in the NYC running circle you may hear folks refer to me as Leggatron. 

I ran in high school but nothing crazy at all. Typical indoor and outdoor track and my favorite cross country. I was a decent runner but nothing to rave about. I wasn't a collegiate athlete but I still liked to run on occasion. You know a little 2 or 3 miles here and there. 

I didn't really nose dive into endurance running until about 3 years ago. One of my closest friends was sadly diagnosed with cancer and to undergo surgery she had to lose a little weight. We both conveniently lived near the park so I said I would run with her. That was around 2011. All went well for her and she pretty much stopped running, but I never did. Running Prospect Park became tired and relatively easy so I started extending the distances I would run. Three turned to four turned to five and so on and so forth and one day I actually found myself 17 miles from home and half way across the George Washington Bridge. At that point my friends felt the need to stop running for no reason and utilize my talents for a purpose. 

I signed up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training to run my first half Marathon, the NYC Half in March 2013. I formally trained for four months and completed the race. Two months later I signed up with TNT again to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October 2013. I don’t think Ive ever experienced something as grueling as marathon training but its been said and done more than once. 

During my training for Chicago I had the fortune of getting introduced to the infamous crew Bridge Runners which completely revolutionized my running style. I became a street runner. I abandoned parks and designated routes. With Bridge I mobbed the streets, disregarded traffic and went over as much bridges as I could on foot. I socialized more. I got stronger. I got faster. I became a better person. 

Needless to say Chicago went well and I qualified for Boston. Post marathon I was still running avidly but my second transition as a runner occurred during the weekend of the Nike Women’s Half in DC in April 2014. It was there I met my now coach and co founder of the Black Roses NYC Running Collective. I had heard a lot about Black Roses and now I was mulling over training with them to take my running to an upper echelon. I bit the bullet. I had nothing to lose but everything to gain. 

I joined Black Roses in season 4 to train for the NYC full. This time things were different because I now incorporated structured track workouts. No matter how dead I felt after every session, it only helped to make me stronger. NYC went well barring some minor setbacks but I’m still with Roses and currently training for Boston 2015.

I know for a fact my running journey isn’t done. I have much much more to learn and many more miles to run. Running for me has never been about PRs and getting medals or winning races. I do it purely for the glory and the satisfaction of being able to do so when many others can’t. It’s never about finishing time. It’s always about the experience and what you take from it. Running gives me the absolute rawest form of freedom possible and provides an indescribable amount of joy in my life.


You Might Also Like