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running toward community: an interview with danielle amari of women running west chester

posted by
Ian Campbell

read an interview between Ian from eseo and Danielle Amari from Women Running West Chester

Dr. Danielle Amari, originally from ATX, is a former professional barista turned perinatal and pediatric chiropractor. Running found her and keeps finding her throughout life, it’s meant to be. Founder of the Women Running West Chester club. 

Ian Campbell, the founder of the eseo app, sat down to talk with Danielle about running, starting a women’s running group and the importance of building community. Here’s what she had to share.

What got you into running? 

When I was at Texas State University, I had never played sports before. I had done Colorguard in high school and tried rowing for one summer before college. When I noticed TSU had a lacrosse team, I figured I’d try it out.

But I had a lot of catching up to do athletically. That’s when I started running.

During the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college, I found a deeper connection to running. My family found out my dad had a tumor growing on his ankle. Right away, I didn’t have a good feeling about it. 

I’d go on runs to process my feelings and fears. I also felt so grateful for the ability to run. I found running to be liberating. I didn’t need fancy equipment— all I needed was shoes and the willingness to show up. 

What keeps you coming back to running?

I think running always has something to teach us. During the pandemic, it was one of the only activities that felt safe to do with other people. When I was in school to become a chiropractor, I remember thinking, how can I help my greater community? 

I realized something. In society, kids have a lot of support when it comes to pursuing physical activity. I wanted a safe space for women to get active, have conversations about fitness and get healthier without being minimized; I wanted more women to be aware of safety when running

Since this running group has existed, it’s amazing to see the meaningful connections that form. Women often don’t have as much community as they crave. This is a chance for women to feel like they have a “tribe” while contributing to that ripple effect of community health. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a running group?

First, be clear about who you’re supporting. Define the type of community you want to foster. 

Be consistent. Collaborate with others if you need help. 

Take time to understand what your group wants and needs. 

Connect with other local groups. That way, if someone is looking for something else, you know where to refer them.

Be patient and keep showing up. Like Lionel Brodie said from O.P.A.C., it takes time to build traction. Figure out how to fill in the gaps - start offering different types of running, large and small distance options and be flexible with runner speed.

What can people expect when joining one of your group runs?

They can expect us to be welcoming and flexible. Go whatever pace or distance you want to go. Surprise yourself. Just show up.

We also do intentional runs, like runs with no technology to focus on how our bodies feel.

We’re building little things to challenge people — trail running, women’s retreats, 5k runs, sign up for races together and events that are more involved.

What does the future hold for you and the running community?

Our group is open to people of all levels. We promote autonomy and take suggestions from people who participate, so it’s ever evolving.

Moving forward, I really want to help women learn how to take care of their bodies while they’re being active. I’d like to teach about myofasical release, kinesiology tape, nutrition and signs of overtraining. 

You can get in touch with Women Running West Chester on Instagram and Facebook, and keep an eye out for us on the eseo app.

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read an interview between Ian from eseo and Danielle Amari from Women Running West Chester