Running. For some it’s a passion, for others it’s a necessary evil to stay healthy, and for many more the idea seems nearly impossible. That’s where Adrienne White steps in. White, a Coca-Cola employee for 7.5 years, is taking her passion for running and well… running with it.

Adrienne White
Adrienne White ready to run with BGR Atlanta.

In 2011, White helped launch the Atlanta chapter of Black Girls Run (BGR), a national organization that promotes healthy living and fitness among African-American women. Through events like Sweat with Your Sole Festival 5k & 15k in Atlanta, Ga., BGR brings women together to empower each other and achieve a healthier lifestyle. White is also actively involved with running events at Coca-Cola like Run@Work Day, that encourage employees to get moving.

The inspirational powerhouse says she became involved because she feels compelled to combat America’s obesity epidemic.

“It doesn’t need to be this way,” she explains, “so whatever I can do to help, I’m more than excited to do.”

Bucket 30 List

But this wasn’t always the case. Like many people struggling to stay fit, White lacked motivation. She was diagnosed with depression in her late 20’s. Her depression, coupled with other significant life challenges, held her in a purgatory of unhappiness. In 2008, that all changed. White suddenly became deathly ill, spending a week in the hospital.

“I was told there was a 70 percent survival rate. But all I heard was a 30 percent chance of death,” she says.

The devastating news kicked her into gear. She decided to turn the negative 30 into a positive. At 28, she created a “Bucket 30 List," a list of 30 things she wanted to do before turning 30. On the top of that list: running the Peachtree Road Race.

What she thought would be a “run and done experience” quickly turned into her new passion. White says she “fell in love with the mental release from running.” Today she is a certified running coach known as "Coach A Dubb" to her trainees.

Corralling Morale Among Her Co-Workers

The running enthusiast says her new life goal is: “To inspire others to take action on issues that help the foundation of their well-being.” She champions this mission among her colleagues by hosting motivational speaking sessions open to all Coke employees at the company's Atlanta headquarters. “Speaking with other employees about living a healthy lifestyle allows me to be me at work,” she explains.

Adrienne White

It’s a win-win situation. White lives out her mantra, “Give. Serve. Love.”, while Coke employees receive insight and inspiration to ignite their "inner runner."

That was exactly the case for Coca-Cola intern Caitlin Smith who attended "Coach A Dubb's" most recent presentation. 

"Adrienne brought to light the importance of positivity and acceptance of where you are as a runner," says Smith. Smith, a once avid runner, admits she's struggled to find the motivation to get active in a fulfilling way again. She attributes the presentation for giving her the push she so desperately needed. Together they are now working to map out Smith's running road to success.

It's a unique one-on-one experience she offers to any and all of her colleagues. From finding the right shoe to properly fueling before a race, she's the running guru to the Coca-Cola masses. Although communication is tricky, White is working diligently to reach and inspire more of her fellow Coke employees through her chats.

'Find Your Why'

As for anything in life, the key to success is to set realistic goals and achieve these expectations through hard work. When it comes to running, that means "finding your why." For White, it was to maintain hope that anything is possible. 

“First identify why you want to embark upon a running journey. For some it’s for weight loss, for others it’s cheaper than therapy. Either way, the critical question to answer is the why," she says. "If you don’t have a bigger purpose you will easily lose motivation.”

Adrienne White
Runners raise their hands proclaiming "I am a runner"!

It's true. We all know it but it's easier said than done, right? Scrounging up the motivation to get fit is tough. Then maintaining the discipline to stick with it... well it can be downright painful at times. But ultimately White assures that running is the most rewarding life experience one can have and may even save yours like it did hers. 

Before each race, White makes every runner raise their hand and proclaim, "I am a runner!" "Saying is believing" she says, "and when you believe it, you do it."

Turning this proclamation into an acronym, White created a guide to help runners every step of the way" 


I: I want this because
… The process of running saved my life & gave me new life. Identify your why and make it a fitness mantra.
AAble- Write down every excuse/obstacle that’s prevented you from starting or improving. For each point, write down a collaborative plan of attack. Engage your support network or find one!
MMake your way to a Running Specialty Store- Visit a store within the next 14 days! Make friends with the staff.
AAlways Celebrate- You will have setbacks, you will get frustrated – but it’s important to celebrate every effort you make!
R: Run, Jog, Walk- Hardest muscle to train: BRAIN. Push yourself, yet be graceful. Have fun in the process & always celebrate.
UUnderstand Form Basics (posture, leg work, breathing)- Nailing form may take months of focus, yet increases your efficiency which leads to longer, faster runs
NNutrition is KEY- Reprogram thoughts around fueling your body for performance. Don’t run with junk in your body and hydrate BEFORE you run.
NNew Gear (must haves)- Moisture Wicking Gear (i.e. DriFit) / "Cotton is Rotten" and for ladies, a proper bra for your body. + Tip: dress as if it’s 10 degrees warmer 
EExercise, too!- Stretch and cross train (besides running). For stretches... Before Workout/Run: Dynamic Stretching - After Workout/Run: Statistic 
RRest, Relax, Recuperate-  Avoid the Terrible TOOs: Too far, too fast, too much, too soon. Resting is a part of a training plan and is key to injury prevention. 

"It’s going to be a challenging process," White concludes. "It will take time to find your comfort level but stick with it. And remember, celebrate every step of the way." (After all, slow and steady did win the race.)