Oiselle Underbirds sponsored runner Hendrix tells her marathon story.
Elite marathon runner Ari Hendrix did not grow up dreaming of running. Up through college, Hendrix’s athletic heart was firmly focused on the basketball court.
But when professional prospects didn’t pan out after her college career ended, Hendrix had to face the harsh fast reality that the sport that had defined her days and shaped her dreams was over.
This is the story of letting go of one dream, and being open to discovering what new, unexpected dreams can arise.
So while Hendrix never considered running a sport of interest when she was young, her father–who died just before Hendrix’s senior year of college–thought differently. He was amazed by her sprinting speed. With the enthusiasm of a proud dad, he would say that she could be fast enough to go to the Olympics.
When Hendrix was faced with the loss of her basketball dreams, she decided she needed a focus, a big challenge that would require a big commitment. Remembering her father’s vision of her becoming a runner, she decided to give it a go.
Hendrix wanted to do the hardest thing she could think of, so she signed up for a marathon.
In this episode, Hendrix traces her journey to running from basketball and how she went from completing that first marathon to now: Ari is currently training for the Olympic Trials Marathon as a sponsored athlete with the Oiselle Underbirds program. To qualify for the trials, runners must have run a 2:37 for the marathon or a 1:12 half marathon. To put this in basic terms: that is extremely difficult.
Hendrix qualified with a 2:35 marathon at the 2022 California International Marathon, more commonly known as CIM. This race is one that many athletes use to run their fastest times.
In addition to earning her spot at the trials, Hendrix is the third fastest runner on The List. (Erika Kemp is current first on The List; she ran 2:33 at the 2023 Boston Marathon). The List is an accounting of all of the American-born Black women who have broken 3 hours in the marathon. There are currently 31 women on The List.
Ari Hendrix’s goal is to be first on The List.
Ways to Keep Up with Ari Hendrix
Mentioned in this Episode
The Underbirds sponsorship program: https://www.oiselle.com/pages/year-of-the-underbird
Breaking Three Hours documentary: https://blackmarathoners.org/breaking-three-hours.shtml
Additional Women’s Running Stories episodes featuring runners on The List
Ways to Connect and Engage with Women’s Running Stories
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