June Community Captain of the month, Alyssa Wegner

Our new Beckley running group comes to you thanks to Community Captain Alyssa! Active SWV sat down with Alyssa to find out more about her and why she likes to be active.

Active SWV: Tell us about yourself, where are you from?

Alyssa: I’m originally from Waukesha, Wisconsin and recently moved to Beckley, WV at the end of January for a new job with the National Park Service (NPS) at the New River Gorge National Park. I’ve been moving around quite a bit the past 5 years working seasonally for the NPS and am really excited to have landed a permanent position and have the opportunity to start building relationships within my new community. As for running and being active, my dad has been a huge component for cultivating an active lifestyle from a young age and really helped me develop a love not only for running, but for being active outdoors, which I think translated into working for the parks and a love for trail running. 

ASWV: Why are you active? How did you start being physically active?

A: I’m active because it makes me feel better. Not just physically, but especially mentally. It gives my brain the opportunity to process and decompress. Plus, when you’re gasping for air, your mind now has something else to think about other than work or the ever growing to do list, at least for the time being. I’m also active because of the social component, the friends I’ve made along the way. I love a lot of activities, pretty much anything that gets me moving outside, but I’ve been especially drawn to running over the years. I’ve been running since before I can remember. I was a part of a very active family growing up, we were always camping, walking, biking, canoeing, or doing something outside. As for running, my dad has always been a runner, and he got me into running when I was little. He always kept it fun, and he was so good at keeping it fun that I ran cross country and track starting in middle school and extending all the way through college. I like challenging myself, but more importantly to me, running has always been a social activity. Being on a team, being able to talk with your friends while running has always made the miles come easier for me. So it seemed only fitting that when I looked at how to make friends in my new WV home, I turned to running. The Beckley Running Group has quickly made me feel right at home here in Southern WV, and I’m forever grateful for any chance I get to run with others. Doesn’t matter the pace or the distance, anytime you get moving, especially with others, I find it makes me feel so much better. 

ASWV: What motivated you to volunteer with Active SWV in your community?

A: I learned about Active SWV through my coworkers here at the park and immediately thought wow, that’s amazing!  I’d never heard of another organization that was offering so many free activities. I knew I wanted to get involved as a participant, but wasn’t initially thinking I’d be a Community Captain. I searched the calendar and didn’t see a running group in Beckley so I reached out to see if I was just missing it in the long list of offerings provided by Active SWV. Elizabeth responded immediately and said there wasn’t currently a group, but there was interest in the community, all that was missing was someone to lead it. Everyone at Active SWV was so encouraging and supportive and made me feel extremely empowered to take on the role of community captain for a Beckley running group. Although I may have started the group as an opportunity to meet people, find out the cool running spots, and keep in shape, I’ve come to realize this organization is so much more than that. I feel empowered to not only improve personally, but also help others get more active within our community, and have a lot of fun along the way. I’ve had a blast so far, and can’t wait to continue to watch the group as well as my leadership skills grow and evolve as we go.

ASWV: How do you stay motivated? Why is being active a priority for you?

A: I stay motivated because of the friends I’ve made through being active. Hearing why they run, what got them into it, and why they continue to run is so inspiring. I love the social component because it’s like a social hour for me. I get to catch up with everyone and see what they’re up to while also giving my body and mind a place to release some excess energy. On top of that, I love the sense of accomplishment or “runners high” that comes after getting out there, it can’t be beat.

ASWV: Why do you think someone should join an Active SWV free program?

A: It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet people. I think it can be really hard to find connections in our digital world, so this gives us the opportunity to step away from our screens and meet our neighbors. On top of that, it’s a great opportunity to try something new. Some of these activities can be really expensive, but Active SWV takes that cost component out and creates such a welcoming environment, all you have to do is get yourself there. I highly encourage everyone to get out and try something new or meet someone new through an Active SWV program, it’s made all the difference for me!

To keep up with Alyssa’s Beckley Running Group and all of the Active SWV free programs, see our website calendar.