Most inspiring stories have unlikely beginnings. This is true when you look at the running career of Danielle Hastings. This avid runner, also known as The T-Rex Runner, is a distinguished member of the Marathon Maniacs and is completing her goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. “I have finished 34 states and plan on completing all 50 states by June 2021.”
Hard to believe this is the same runner who quit the soccer team on the first day of practice because the coach made her run a lap. The sport has lead Hastings to and through so many places.
Hastings quit the soccer team when she was seven and remained a non-runner until after college. She shamelessly admits she gave running a try after seeing others running down the street and thinking they “looked really cool.” She further admits she got serious about running a few months after she married and it began to fall apart. “It got me out of the house during a rough time,” said Hastings.
The running pretty much won out, and she told us how running serves as her continued outlet for life’s struggles.
“I would say the biggest obstacle that I have (almost) overcome is my 11-year struggle with anorexia and bulimia,” she admitted. Running has helped her deal with the eating disorders that she has battled since age 16. Unlike many, running is not a trigger for the disorder in Hastings’ case.
“Running has been an outlet for my stress and anxiety and has helped me change the way I view food,” something is no longer Hastings’ enemy. She’s continually learning to see food as fuel. Admittedly, she explains it’s still a daily battle, but one she’s winning thanks to running.
A young non-runner, this unlikely athlete’s struggle with a broken marriage and years of disordered eating stress would leave us impressed if she were your average recreational runner, but she’s not. Hastings earned her membership in the elite Marathon Maniacs club by completing 3 marathons in less than 90 days in 2021. To sweeten this title, Hastings has made a serious dent in her goal of completing a marathon in all 50 states; a goal many runners dream up, but few actually complete. That’s a far cry from refusing to run laps after soccer practice.
Currently, Hastings has shifted her focus from quantity to quality. She’s working with a coach and instead of running as many marathons as she can each year, she’s choosing a few and working on her speed and testing herself. The shift has renewed her love of running.
So, once more we learn of a runner doing things most of us can’t imagine. But what does Hastings have to say to those who think they can’t get started?
“I’m not going to say ‘if I can do it, you can do it,’” says Hastings. “What I would say is that running marathons across the 50 states has let me meet so many different types of people — young, old, white, black, fast, slow, heavy, and thin. While many people think of running as a sport that very thin Kenyan men and women can do, in reality, there are people of all shapes and sizes out there running, walking and any combination thereof,” said Hastings.
Hastings ended with sharing a quote from Bart Yasso, the editor for Runner’s World.
“I often hear someone say ‘I’m not a real runner.’ We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner.”