How Alchemy Made Me A Marathon Runner

Member Spotlight: Jess Haines


It was Alchemy that made me love running.

I used to run cross country and track in high school, but I liked the idea of it more than actually throwing on my shoes and heading out the door. My parents were marathoners, but at the time I wasn’t sure if it was something that would truly be feasible for me – running more than ten miles seemed terrifying and incomprehensible. Fast forward a few years, and I started classes at Alchemy.

Alchemy was the first place where I felt like an athlete again.

The studio immediately gave off a feeling of warmth and community, with coaches encouraging us to reach goals outside of the studio. When everyone went into lockdown, I decided to try running again.  My experience was entirely different from those earlier days. I was the strongest I had ever been, physically and mentally. The mindset that helped me complete 30 burpees is what pushed me to run to the next mailbox, then the next, until eventually I was able to handle several miles without difficulty. After a few months, I decided to sign up for the 2021 Twin Cities Marathon. I had heard of other Alchemy athletes completing marathons, and this gave me the encouragement I needed to sign up. 

Alchemy was essential to completing my first marathon.

I would do strength classes a few times a week and take the occasional cardio class for cross training. The coaches would ask about my training, and help with any accommodations I needed so I could feel fresh on the next day’s run. When I had doubts about finishing or keeping pace, a trip to Alchemy always reminded me that I could do hard things. 

The marathon experience had a similar feeling to an Alchemy class – the sense of community, knowing we’re going to finish this together. After I crossed the finish line I was hooked, and immediately signed up for the 2022 marathon. Now I take Alchemy classes more regularly in the off season, and tie in more strength and barbell classes during my training period.

Once I finished my first marathon in 2021, I was completely hooked. I signed up for the 2022 race on the car ride home. With more experience and specific training with Alchemy, I was able to take 45 minutes off of my previous time.

More than anything else, it’s the feeling of home that keeps me coming back to Alchemy.

Being greeted by coaches who make you feel welcome and getting inspired by other members is unlike anything I’ve experienced in other gyms. At the core, that’s what Alchemy is. A place that motivates us to work hard in and out of the studio – and reminds us that we can do hard things. 


Jess has been an Alchemy athlete since 2020. She currently works at the University of Minnesota in neuro oncology research. Outside of Alchemy and running, Jess loves cooking elaborate dinners, curling up with a book, and ballroom dancing with her husband. Feel alive with Jess – your first class is free!

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