Name: Lovelyn Findley
Hometown: Orlando, FL but originally from Philippines
Current Residence: Orlando, FL
Occupation: Project Manager
Originally from the Philippines, Lovelyn is heavily involved in the Central Florida running community, even starting a trail running club, the O-Town Blazers, which meets every Saturday morning at 7:30 am.
She will be lacing up for her second 100 miler in a few weeks and is raising money for the Cancer Foundation of the Florida Keys in honor of her mom who is a breast cancer survivor. Read the full interview on our blog!
That’s what I thought too, until I started leading the trail running group (O-town Blazers) every Saturday. I didn’t want to take them to the same trails so I started exploring other trails on my own so that I could take the group. There are over 300 miles of the Florida Trail in Central Florida and it is a running oasis. We run early in the morning, and sometimes I get there first to just watch the sunrise peak and shine between the trees.
3. As a Pilipina runner, why do you think it is important for the sport of trail/ultra running to have more diverse representation?
After just 5 months of racing ultras, I quickly noticed that ultra races have predominantly white participants. Similar to hiking or through hiking, both have very low BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) representation. Recognizing this I started thinking and talking to others of what could be the reasons behind it and is there anything I can do. What I found is that people like me have the physical ability, but it’s the financial ability that's stopping them. Ultra racing is expensive, and it’s not accessible to everyone, especially for those who are low income or below the poverty line.
It just so happens that those who are low income are predominantly BIPOC. It is important to me to have diverse representation so that even though they don’t have the financial means to invest in this sport, they see someone like me, that looks like them, came from the same place as them, and as a result, may be willing to try it out.
There are times when I go on a race, and I don’t see anyone that looks like me or BIPOC. I get so discouraged, out of place, and ask myself, why even be here, paying all this money and why not just run by myself and save the money. No one is going to notice anyway, so I am not going to do it. I don’t want others to feel that way; that is why diverse representation in sports matters to me.
4. What part of your Pilipino heritage are you most proud of?
I am proud of our work ethic which can be seen in everything we do. We are all in, we don’t do anything half ass. We are used to working hard for everything, we have to earn not given. We have to work 3 times harder to be seen and to be elevated. My mother passed that on to me, and it’s applied to everything I do, which I am very proud of.
6. Favorite post-run treat for both you and your four-legged training partner, Ms. Mabel?
My favorite post-run treat is mint chocolate chip ice cream, that’s her favorite too - and “bacon!"