Finishing Strong with Donielle Spears

Donielle Spears is the Founder and CEO of RUNWITHMETOFASHION LLC. She wears many hats and is an Author, Educator, Motivational Speaker, Stylist, Business Consultant, Certified Run Coach, and world renowned Marathoner who currently works in the banking industry. As an accomplished runner, she's completed 35 marathons and used her life journey as inspiration to write and self-publish her book, Life Is A Marathon...Finish Strong! Donielle is always a joy and positive, so it was a pleasure for MidStrike Magazine to learn more about how she balances life as she wears her many hats.

Donyetta: Tell us about yourself and where you’re from! 
I was born and raised in Charlotte, NC I’m a Charlotte native. I am one of two children. I have a younger brother, EJ. He’s 38 years old and also lives in Charlotte. I’m a mother of three beautiful children, 2 boys and 1 girl. I’m an active member of my church. I’ve always had a love for fashion and I enjoy traveling, spending time with family, and hanging out with friends. I graduated from North Carolina A&T State University, majoring in Political Science. I received my Master of Arts in Education in 2011 and taught English as a Second Language at a local Community College for 12 years before transitioning to the financial industry. 

Donyetta: The infamous question all runners are asked: How did you get into running? 
I began running in 2013 as a means to maintain weight loss. After losing a little over 50 pounds in 2011- 2012, I was tired of going to the gym and doing fitness classes. I was never able to run and decided I’d start by training myself to run a 5K. I literally went from not being able to run a mile to running 26.2 miles. I loved the feeling of running. Running helped me relieve stress, process my thoughts, and it gave me time to myself. It became a form of self-care. 

Donyetta:  You set a goal to run 35 marathons before the age of 35. What prompted you to begin your 35 marathon journey?
After running numerous marathons within a short amount of time (3 years), the travel, expenses, and even the training began to take a toll on me financially, physically, and mentally. By this time, the time of burnout, I had already run at least 30 marathons. As I was approaching age 35, I told myself I would retire from long-distance running and end my marathon journey during my 35th year of life. It was also taking time away from my family and it was time to re-prioritize some life decisions.  

Donyetta:  Running one marathon is more than most people believe they are capable of. What are some of the setbacks you experienced on your journey of 35 marathons? How did you overcome them? 
While I made the journey look easy, it wasn’t. No one saw what it took to get me to that goal. One of my setbacks was financial distress. Running a marathon can be expensive. The cost to travel, including transportation, hotels, food, race fees, and more can be taxing on your wallet. To overcome this setback, I decided to slow down and my only goal was to reach Marathon #35 and retire. Another

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