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Elevator Profile: Ruthie Williams on Launching the Triangle Chapter of Latinos Run



Freelance Journalist
Together We Stand NC

In the nine years since Ruthie Williams first laced up her running shoes, she’s logged hundreds of miles with several different groups. But as a Latin-American woman, she’d never found a local group that specifically brought together runners and walkers of Hispanic heritage. The group where she formed the deepest connections—even describing its members as being like brothers to her—was the Raleigh-Durham chapter of Black Men Run (BMR).


So when she learned of Latinos Run, which was founded by New York runner Maria Solis Belizaire in 2016, Williams was eager to establish a Triangle chapter. Because the group is still relatively small, it took a couple applications before, at long last, she received the greenlight to begin the new chapter in June. Since then, she’s hit the ground running, hosting regular weekly runs and also planning special races [see sidebar for upcoming events].


The running community is still predominantly white, and few groups make a point of reaching out to underrepresented communities. And for some Latinos, language can be yet another barrier to them becoming involved. It’s Williams’s hope that through this new chapter, Latinos in the Raleigh-Durham area will see themselves represented in this group and come together—whether they’re a seasoned runner or just someone who wants to add a little movement and new social group to their lives. Running has had a profound impact on Williams, and she’s ready to bring it to this often-overlooked community.





Congratulations on the newest chapter of Latinos Run! What have the first couple of months been like?


I'm a zero-to-100 type of person; I was like that even when I started running. As soon as Maria sent me the congratulations, we had our discussion and set up social media and things like that. I wanted to go ahead and get the ball rolling because it takes work if you want to make things happen.


We’ve already had some meet-ups. I’m partnering with Black Men Run because I've run with them since 2017. They have very solid meet-up times and places, and I like the fact they hit almost every greenway within Raleigh-Durham. I spoke with the BMR captain, Kyle Abramson, and expressed my interest, and he was very supportive and said we could have our meet-ups whenever they had theirs. So [as of early July], we've had several meet-ups already, on Saturdays and Sundays in particular.


One of the things that Latinos Run also is big on is having unity runs and social justice runs. So that part was easy because I'm already running with the BMR guys. I'm also partnering with multiple Fleet Feet locations—Durham, Raleigh, and Fayetteville—because Hispanic Heritage Month is coming up, and we'll be posting and promoting that. One of the events will be at Ponysaurus on Thursday, September 21, so on a regular PonyRun evening.



How are you getting the word out in the Raleigh-Durham area?

One of the things is just trying to strategize how to get Latinos to come out and run or really to get our name out there because, to be honest, nobody knows about Latinos Run in this area. So I’m also partnering with Mezcalito in Apex to do a Thursday social run. I spoke with the manager, and he was all for it. It's refreshing to have everybody be so open and really supportive of Latinos Run already when we’re just kicking off official events.


There are Latinos who already run in different groups, whether it be Fleet Feet or BMR, but we don't really have one that brings together Latinos, and I think that’s key. I've also spoken with [marketing manager] Sharon Kyner from Fleet Feet Raleigh and one of the things that I expressed to her is maybe doing some sort of track workout at Buffaloe Road Athletic Park. There are a lot of Hispanics in that area, and I see them all the time. I’m thinking about different, innovative ways to get people to get out and move.


I don't want to limit our group to just running because not everybody wants to run. Maybe some people want to walk, and that's OK. I've even thought of organizing, when it's cooler, a little hike or something different just to get people involved and active. It’s important to have a place where Latinos feel like they can comfortably be a part of a group that they identify with.


How do you create a space where the Latino community feels welcome and comfortable—even if they’re not runners?

I’ve run with many running groups, and I don't know of any that have actually gone into the communities to seek out people to run. They automatically assume the runners see the meet-up and sign up. My focus is going to be a bit different. Yes, I definitely want runners, but I also want to go into the communities and find people who want to run—because they're there. They just don't know about different organizations or maybe they don't feel comfortable. Or as far as Latinos are concerned, they may not feel comfortable because of language and things like that.


With Buffaloe Road track, I've been out there in the evening and seen a massive amount of Hispanic people; there are soccer players on the field and then the spouses or other family members or friends are literally walking around the track. And I've always thought, man, this would be a great spot. So my goal is to kick that off with a Latinos Run banner on the track because they’re just going to go in circles, and they’ll see that there’s representation.


In terms of percentages, Latinos Run will be more of those who are already runners and may even be a part of different organizations. But my hope is to also get people who have never run and don't know anything about run groups. To me, that's success and we can build from there by word of mouth. If they feel comfortable and are having fun, they'll tell their friends and then we’ll have more people. I think that's how you build it, but I want to think outside the box when it comes to members.



What are some other outside-the-box ways to engage with the potential members?


Another challenge is social media; not everybody has social media. At a recent 5k, I had on a Latinos Run shirt, and someone approached me and asked, ‘What's Latinos Run? How do I get connected? Our family just moved here from California, and I really love that we would have somewhere we could go with our daughter to be around Hispanic culture.’ He didn't have social media, so I got his email and he got mine. We emailed each other, and I told him I would email him the run details. So you have to find innovative ways to make things happen because not everybody is on social media, believe it or not.


Now, we also have cards with QR codes. So if I’m around the track, then I can just tell them to scan with their phone. But again, they might not have that, so it may be something where I have little cards with my email address and just hand them out.



Latinos Run Raleigh August 2023 


August 5th 2023 - American Tobacco Rd Trail (Durham)

Saturday Group Run 

Start 6:30 AM

705 Willard ST 

Durham, NC 


August 6, 2023 - Anderson Point Group Run 

Sunday Group Run 

Start 6:30 AM

20 Anderson Point Dr 

Raleigh, NC 


August 12, 2023 - Shelley Lake Group Run 

Saturday Group Run 

Start 6:30 AM

1400 W. Millbrook Rd.

Raleigh, NC 


August 20, 2023 - Latinas Day Run - Umstead Park 

Sunday Group Run 

Start 6:30 AM 

2139 Old Reedy Creed Rd 

Cary, NC 


August 27, 2023 

Unity Run with Latinos Run Raleigh, Black Men Run RDC & Black Girls Run 

Start: TBD

Location: TBD

LRR GRP 1.jpg
LRR GRP 3.jpg
LRR GRP 4.jpg

What’s a common misconception about the Hispanic-American community?

I think we, as people of color, but in particular Latinos, come in all shades and colors. So when people see me, for example, they assume I’m Caucasian, but as soon as they find out what my ethnicity is, there’s a shift; it's a little different. So that's also what drove me to say, ‘Man, I need people to be comfortable.’


And we’re not only different shades, we also come from different countries. I currently have an Argentinian running with us, as well as Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. We come from different countries, have different dialects, and sometimes eat different foods. The struggle, I think, is breaking that down for people to understand. I don't want them to say, ‘Oh, here's Latinos Run Raleigh chapter.’ I want them to understand what it means. When I first announced the chapter, somebody said, ‘Latinos Run—what is that? Why do you need that?’ So I’ve realized we’re going to face challenges like that. Although we’re united, people need to stop putting us in a box.



What impact do you hope to make through Latinos Run?

I've actually envisioned that and just envisioning it makes me emotional because I know how much I love running and how much it has made a difference in my life. I’ve only been running nine years, so I started late in life, and I know the benefits it has brought to me—my health, being more social, and being more confident—and I would love to bring that to the Latino community so that they feel empowered. Running can change your life. There are so many benefits you can take from it other than lowering your heart disease and diabetes and all of that. And, you know, Latinos, we love to eat, so that goes perfectly with running.


My goal is to reach out to the Latino community. It’s really up to me to make that effort and not expect that because I put a flyer out, people are going to show up. So it's going to take some work. I want to make it convenient for them, and I want to make it accessible to all, by removing what barriers I can.


We want to say, ‘Hey, we're here.’ We also want people to get to know us and what better way to do a run as one, if you will. But I absolutely love it. And just picturing it in my mind—what that looks like—is amazing.




To learn more about Latinos Run, visit and follow @LatinosRunRaleigh on Instagram. You can also join the Facebook Group or email Ruthie Williams directly at

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