At the age of 38 years old, Erica King set herself up for a new challenge in life. Completing her first ever marathon in the big smoke, New York city. Since then she has completed a total of 21 marathons. What started as a passion, soon became a business for Erica who is now the founder of Running Divas, an online women's running community to empower and inspire women to live their best life and encourage this by offering online training programs. Erica spoke to our Editor-in-Chief about her remarkable journey towards launching her successful business.
Tell us about Running Divas. How did you come up with the concept?
I decided to learn how to run 14 years ago and trained myself from zero to completing a marathon (New York). There was almost no information online or in magazines that was specifically tailored for women who run. I found myself in San Francisco in 2007 to run the marathon and was at an expo when I saw t-shirts that said Running Divas - the name stuck with me from then onwards.
Erica you are a truly remarkable woman, having completed 12 marathons in 12 months and now you have a total of 21 marathons completed. That is amazing. How did you do it and how did you find your motivation?
Thank you! I take it one step and one marathon at a time. When I crossed the finish line while completing my first marathon in New York in 2002, I knew in that moment that I could do anything I decided to. And so I have kept challenging myself knowing that with good training, focus and lots of determination, I will continue to cross each marathon finish line. Running is my happy place - I love it even when my body is screaming.
Living a healthy lifestyle can sometimes be thought of by some people as dieting and excessive exercise or vice versa. What would you say is the best balance for women to have in terms of leading a healthy life?
Find peace with who you are and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. It’s all about being the best version of you. Don’t be focused on or thinking about being a specific body size, just be focused on feeling and being healthy for yourself. One of the many things that I love about running is that anyone of any age, body shape, running ability line-up to be part of running events. There is no typical runner's body, we all just go out to enjoy the feeling of being healthy and fit.
I love to eat as most runners do so preparing nutritious, tasty meals and treats is all part of feeling great about who we are individually. I encourage women and certainly follow this approach myself and that is to make food our friend, enjoy and don’t starve ever! If you have ever seen a hungry runner it is not pretty. Life is all about being happy and to be enjoyed not miserable and focused on some unrealistic ideal
Who/what inspires you in business?
I’m inspired to be making a real difference in the lives of as many women as possible
around the world, one run at a time.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when you first started your business and how do they compare to the ones you face now, as a successful business owner?
One of my biggest challenges was understanding how to create a business from my passion. This means putting on my ‘business hat’ rather than my emotional one, reaching out to my target audience and learning about their own run, health and fitness journeys so that I fully understand what they want and need from me and my business.
What attracted you to running and how do you keep motivated to continue the sport?
At 38-years-old, I wanted a completely new challenge that would push me out of my
comfort zone. I had never run before, so thought that it would be a great learning.
After deciding that I was going to learn to run from zero, I thought that it would be
very motivating to set a huge run goal and so I settled on a marathon and a location
that is the most exciting place to run a marathon – New York. Since completing this
first marathon in 2002, I have continued to set new run challenges that keep me both
terrified and excited to continue training. Plus, the ‘high’ of crossing a marathon finish line is addictive
How important would you say social media has been for you and your business?
Extremely in terms of reaching as many women around the world so instantly and
creating a running community where we all share our run experiences and journeys
would have been impossible without social media.
What advice do you have for those who want to start their own business?
I have the following tips: