Face of the Race: Nina Samii

By her own admission, Nina Samii says she doesn’t fit the preconceived image many people might have in their head when they think of a runner. For years Samii has struggled with her weight and has also battled exercise-induced asthma. However, this Champaign middle school teacher says she has never let anything deter her from achieving her goals. 
“I literally woke up one day and thought I am going to run.” says Samii. 
When she leaves the house every day for her run, Samii says she often encounters a wide variety of reactions from some who may not have initially pegged her as a runner. While she says she is most often met with words of encouragement, sometimes people are surprised to see her exercising. 
“Recently, I went to exercise with my colleagues at work and I put on my running shoes and they were surprised like “look at you in your running outfit”..I was like, well I run!” says Samii 
This year, Nina had planned on running the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon for the very first time. However, she and her husband got some very surprising news a few months back that she was pregnant. It was something she did not think would happen, due to the fact that her and her husband had previously been told they would not be able to conceive a child naturally. As a result, Nina has decided to dial back her training and instead walk the half marathon. However, she said she is not giving up. 
“I feel like I say one more year every year. I feel like I have been waiting and waiting, and now I am going to have to wait a bit longer for the full marathon, but at this point, I told everybody I was going to do it and I have to keep my word.” says Samii
Despite challenges, Samii is someone committed to running and staying health. It is something that truly makes her a Face of the Race.

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