1000 Days and Running with Olivia Frempong

MSM: 1,005. ONE THOUSAND AND FIVE DAYS. When you went out for a run on November 23, 2017 did you think you would have a streak extending over 2 ½ years into 2020? What were your thoughts on the first day?

LIV: l never thought that I would be this far along. It was only meant to be a 40 day streak, simply Thanksgiving Day 2017 to New Year’s Day 2018. On the first day, I just said and prayed to myself, “Lord, just help me try to do this day by day, one step at a time.” But look It has been an amazing journey!

MSM: I’d like to assume 1,005 days includes lots of curveballs when it comes to life, weather, and soreness. What has been your hardest day of this streak?

LIV: My hardest day ever was when one of my favorite uncles passed away, unexpectedly, the day after Resurrection (Easter) Sunday. I had just talked to him the day before and had a few other personal losses due to Covid-19, so it was a rough time. I was able to run and reflect on the good times and memories during my run and ended up with a very therapeutic self-care session. 

MSM: How have you kept yourself prepared mentally and physically during this run streak?

LIV: Training smart helps always.  I am looking to improve quality of life, so definitely training smart and having easy runs before and/or after hard days has been the smart way to go. Mentally, staying focused on the positives of running to help stressful days in addition to prayer have been key. I always try to think about the great feeling I get when the run is over and accomplished and that helps me stay focused on the goal. The beauty about a runstreak is that all it takes is a minimum of a mile, Do what you can! 

MSM: I’ve read that this run streak also included a world major with the Berlin Marathon and the Marine Core Marathon. What are some of your other official races that you’ve participated in during this run streak?

LIV: Those two marathons were the big ones during this streak. I was on target to add the London Marathon which would have been my fourth world major and sixth marathon, but the coronavirus pandemic changed gears. There have been a few other major races, such as the Brooklyn Half, which I have done every year since starting my run journey in 2013, as well as the Miami Half Marathon earlier this year, both of which are my favorite half marathons. I love the traveling adventures I’ve had with this streak as I also had the opportunity to do the RACE 13.1 in North Carolina. Another fave that I’ve also always done is the Celebrate Life Half which is a race that is dedicated to honor and remember lives lost to cancer and to celebrate survivors and those currently battling cancer, which was my last official race in early March. In addition to these half marathons and others there have also been countless 5k and 10k races.

MCM: Has this current streak meant even more to you now that everything is shut down?

LIV: More than ever before! It has literally been a lifeline as some days it keeps me going. I work in healthcare as a social worker within a substance abuse and addiction rehab center, and it hasn’t been easy at all. And with everything shut down, balancing family, business and work, [running] has been my time to escape all the ups and downs that we have all been going through. It has meant so much more to me, definitely a time to take care of my mental and physical health.

MCM: What are some of the things you do to get yourself mentally ready for a run? I see you’re a person of faith. 

LIV: I absolutely give God all the glory and credit for this streak. Prayer is key for me and without faith I would not have been able to do this. So usually before heading out, or down to the basement on the treadmill for a run, praying is and my mantra I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and is usually repeated a few times . 

MCM: What has been your inspiration and most memorable run day during this streak?

Robert Kraft and Run LivFit

LIV: Hands down, the most memorable day for me during this streak was on February 10th this year, run streak day 810. It was the day after I did the Miami Half Marathon. I met and had the honor of meeting Mr. Robert Kraft on Miami Beach. He is another fellow run streaker with whom I was featured in last year’s RUNNERS WORLD MAGAZINE Streaker edition. It was that day contemplating how long I was doing this streak for and met him. He has been running 8 miles every day since January 1st, 1975!!! Yes you read right, over 45 and a half years of running! 8 miles EVERY day! I will never forget the nuggets that he shared with me and he gave me the motivation to continue my streak. The sky’s the limit! 

MCM: Black Girls Run is such a strong sisterhood when it comes to running. How has your run family continued to push you and keep you motivated during this run streak?

Black Girls Run at the Miami Marathon

LIV: Let me tell you something about BLACK GIRLS RUN! We are a true sisterhood that anyone can join and be welcome and achieve individual goals at their own pace. I am a proud Black Girls Run as an ambassador of the Albany NY chapter and it has been an absolute blessing to be in the midst of some amazingly great women. We are more than a movement and a run group, we are truly a family and my sole sisters have truly helped me during this run streak journey. From running with me during long runs to checking in to make sure I got ‘er done. BGR is always there for me. It’s been amazing to see other sole sisters begin their own run streaks after watching my journey. Isn’t that what this is all about? It’s such a great thing!

MSM: With a run streak so long what have you been doing to keep your routes fresh? I’m sure there have been times where new scenery is needed, while also having a route that is your favorite?

LIV: Yes, totally. It’s so funny, I can tell you what points from my house in every direction are equivalent to all distances. Yes there are days where a change in scenery is vital and I am blessed to live in an area where I can just jump into my car and go for a quick drive for a switch up. I do have my special route, which is a trail that literally takes me through five different cities up here in the Capital Region of NY when I’m up for an adventure.

MSM: You’re a native of Accra, Ghana, and you represent your country well and always rep your flag. How often do you get back to Ghana and have you had a chance to log this run streak while running in your home country? 

LIV: GHANA ALL DAY!!!!! I am dubbed the #GHANAIANRUNNER as I love representing my homeland and bringing fitness awareness to my people. I try to go back home to Ghana every few years and it was so much fun streaking there. My last trip was December 2018 to January 2019 and I spent 3 weeks there and it was AMAZING! Home sweet home while running and exploring neighborhoods that have changed since the last time I was there was epic!

MCM: As a marathoner are there any marathons in your native country that you’d be interested in running?

LIV: I definitely have plans of doing the Accra International Marathon which is usually held in the Fall. With the climate switch, it’ll definitely take some smart training! 

MSM: Outside of running we all have our normal lives, and you have a business in hair products direct from Africa (africansgonenatural) and AFRIKINKY™ (shea butter). We definitely need to order some here at Mid Strike Magazine as we support all black owned businesses. How are you able to find balance with everything, Also can you tell us about your businesses?

LIV: Balance is only by the grace of God. I would not be able to do any of these things without that special grace, so I am very thankful for it. My best friend and I started with a social media platform in 2015 called AFRICANSGONENATURAL which was our way of helping to bring everyone together to embrace natural hair and skin. I was starting my first marathon training and was struggling with how to maintain my natural hair while training for 26.2. I realized that I wasn’t the only one with natural hair concerns, so we figured why not make a platform where people worldwide could come together and share ideas and solutions, so we launched. It was a hit and we currently have over 56k followers on Instagram and over 14k on our product brand line AFRIKINKY.

I am a licensed fitness instructor as well, and last year I launched my business LivFit. I teach Afrobeat fitness as a way to connect my love for dance and movement with my love for my homeland and continent of beautiful Africa. I enjoy sharing the happiness I have while teaching classes with others, and helping others discover theirs through God’s grace, while we all get our health and fitness and aim to get our temples fit to do what we are all destined to do.

MSM: We love the fact that you’re extending to others that natural hair is okay as it’s something that both females and males that want to grow their hair out struggle with. As you launched this business, was it based on your previous experiences which led to launching Afrikinky? 

LIV: Afrikinky was born and launched due to it being something so dear to us. Having our personal story of looking to maintain our natural hair while wanting to use natural products is what did it for us. In 2017, we decided we wanted to do more for the movement and that is when we partnered with a women’s cooperative back home in Ghana, as they handcraft all of our natural products from sunrise to sunset daily and wanted to give back. Our dual mission as a social enterprise has led to our partnership, which helps to build their communities, send their children to school to get quality education and help provide great healthcare, all while promoting the use of natural products straight from Africa.

MSM: You also have an afrobeat virtual online class. For our readers, where can they sign up if interested?

LIV: Come on down and join the LIVFIT family, a fitness ministry community geared to helping everyone with all fitness levels and abilities to achieve their best fitness goals while improving quality of life. Prior to Covid, I was teaching in gyms and studios, now I have access to connect with others worldwide thanks to technology and it has been a blessing. To sign up follow me on Facebook at LIVFIT, www.facebook.com/LivFit413, or Instagram @RunLivFit. You can also contact me via email LivFit413@gmail.com

MSM: I have to ask what are some of your favorite Afrobeats tunes?

LIV: This is a very tricky question! There are just so many! Honestly, anything with that African beat of the drums will get me moving. I am known to those around me for dancing to anything with a beat, ha ha.

MSM: How has this streak helped you overall, what have you gained from it? And for others that are currently in their own run streak what advice would you give to them?

LIV: I definitely have gained a whole new level of perseverance, persistence and dedication that I never thought even existed for me. For others, I definitely encourage you to take it one day at a time, knock the runs out early in the morning to kick start your day, and get it done before unseen circumstances arise in the evening. And just have fun with it!!!!

MSM: Are there any chances this streak continues past the 1000th day? 

LIV: Of course!!!! It’s a part of my daily routine, no stopping now. By Gods’ grace I shall continue until I am not able to. 

MSM: What’s next for RUNLIVFIT?

LIV: I shall continue whatever God has purposed for me, definitely continuing with my LivFit business to help encourage others in their journeys, as well as bringing the community together, and continuing with the Afrikinky mission of promoting the use of all natural products. Who knows what else I will delve into…all things are possible!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS BLESSED OPPORTUNITY! 🇬🇭👟 #GhanaianRunner 🇬🇭👟

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