The first mile: Eli Minter

Every runner started somewhere. The First Mile is a series by Pacers Running about the unique journey each person takes to becoming a runner.

From the fastest runners in the world to people finishing their first 5K, every runner today at one point wasn’t a runner. Visit The First Mile homepage for more stories, inspiration, and training advice from the team at Pacers and take the first strides to becoming a runner today.

Eli is a DC runner who has been running almost since he can remember. Eli has a deep love and passion for running that he enjoys sharing with his community. Eli is a Pacers ambassador and frequent visitor of our weekly group runs at our 14th Street location.

Tell us about the first time you ever went running.

One of my earliest memories of running is going to the track with my dad when he would take my older brother to do workouts. Me and my younger siblings would tag along with him and just do laps around the track while they were doing the workout.

At the time we thought it was fun (laughs). It’s sort of something that has stuck with me since that time, just the joy of running. 

You are a pretty serious runner but what do you say to people just starting out who maybe don’t think of themselves as a runner? What do you love about running?

You don't have to be fast to be a runner. Anyone can be a runner regardless of their speed or talent. It really is a sport that anyone can do. 

For me, running makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I can be one with my thoughts and it just makes me feel happy.

You are a frequent attendee at Pacers group runs. How did you get started and what do you enjoy about attending Pacers group runs?

I started attending Pacers group runs several years ago. I found them through their races. One thing led to another and I started coming to the social runs. I like going to the Pacers runs because they really foster a sense of community. Pacers makes people feel welcome by having inclusive options for running distances. They have options for every level of runner and they just create a welcome environment for everyone.

"The DC running community has really given me something to be a part of. A lot of my close friends in DC I have met through various running groups."

What advice do you have to someone just starting running?

Don't be too hard on yourself! Be open to being a little sore or maybe not having the answer for everything. Find a buddy if you can. I find it helps me and a lot of people I know who run to stay consistent and to try something new if they have someone to do it with.

What has the DC running community meant to you?

The DC running community has really given me something to be a part of. A lot of my close friends in DC I have met through various running groups. Also, there’s just a social bond we have in these groups where different people from different walks of life come and meet each other through this shared experience and have a good time and enjoy running.