Today we hear from community-builder & movement-maker Maria Solis Belizaire. Activist, Speaker and Marathoner, Maria is the Founder and CEO of Latinos Run & Latinas Run, two national organizations that promote running as way to improve physical and mental health of the Latino community.
As a child, Maria was actively involved in athletics, but as she entered her teens, life would take a turn for the worse when her mother became incarcerated. As a way to deal with adversity, Maria turned to running and became a member of her high school track team. Years later, her twin sister invited her to take part in a local fun run which became the first organized race she would enter. Soon after Maria would be introduced to an Ultra Marathoner who encouraged her to join their local NYRR’s club with a goal of completing her 1st NYC Marathon.
From that day on, running became a life changing experience for her. After participating in countless races across the United Sates including six marathons with family and friends, Maria began to think about the impact health had not only on herself but others in her community. Having lost her mother and friends from cancer and other heath issues including obesity and heart disease, she knew she had to do more.
In 2016, unable to find a group that catered specifically to Latinos, she decided to take action and form the running group Latinos Run in honor of her late mother Miriam Calderon Solis. Soon after she would form a sister group Latinas Run which focuses on Latina Women.
Throughout the year, Maria travels extensively throughout the United States to meet other Runners and empower Latinos to lace up and get Running. She is also a frequent lecturer and a powerful voice for the underserved in her community.
Today we talk about the power of finding purpose in your passion, and harnessing that passion into a business that helps others.
Things we talk about:
- When work is your passion, it doesn't feel like work.
- Collaboration is key - "I don't know everything."
- Have a vision. Write it down. Don't be afraid to do it.
- Why safe spaces are important.
- The concept of Unity runs
Where to find Maria:
FINALLY - leave us a note about something you want to put out into the universe or something you did put out into the universe and how that turned out for you!