By now you may know my face graced a Nike ad for Chicago Marathon on a bus shelter. Located downtown Chicago in the Loop on State Street and Washington. Just steps away from The Chicago Theatre. To say it was a dream come true would not even come close. It surpassed my wildest-craziest dreams. Everything felt so surreal. You’re probably wondering how it all started.
Along with other women running Chicago Marathon I had the honor to attend Nike events at their Headquarters. These events were specifically created for women running the marathon. We were able to preview official Nike Chicago Marathon merchandise and get a personalized tank with our names and cool logos we got to decorate them with. All before merchandise hit stores. They also had a photographer taking our headshots and asking lots of questions why we run and what keeps us motivated. I loved the experience. As a print model and a blogger who takes tons of photos every day, I felt no pressure and I didn’t even check how the photos turned out. Little did I know, faces of my fellow runners started to pop up on bus stop shelters all over Chicago. They were strategically placed on the route of the marathon for the whole 26.2 miles. And yes, they did took off our make up before taking these photos. These are as real as they get.
I couldn’t locate my photo for a couple of days, until my friend Brittany found my bus shelter location and sent me a photo of it. I kid you not, I had to sit down for this. As I opened the text message and saw my face on the ad, my heart stopped..I was flooded with emotions. All good emotions may I add! For most of my life I have dreamt of this moment. I’ve worked really hard in the modeling print industry and I’ve seen myself in print but never on a scale like this. For NIKE. as one of the women running and representing Chicago. on a freaking bus stop, size of a giant poster in one of the busiest locations in Chicago. Jaw dropping experience. I had to record a live video to document the moment when I first went to see it in person. I was so nervous. Mostly because I had never done a live video on Instagram before and second, that is my freaking face on a NIKE ad downtown chicago???! R you kidding me? You can view the video on my HGTV, sorry for chewing gum, I forgot to throw it away as I was that nervous and excited.
Having my face plastered on a Nike ad is pretty cool, but you know what is even cooler? That a company like Nike used everyday women runners to represent the biggest sports event in the city of Chicago. That is freaking AWESOME. Thank your Nike for being real and for your support of women athletes. I am truly honored to have been included in this project along with so many of my running friends. I will cherish this time of a my life forever. I want to give a big shout out to my other ladies who appeared on Nike ads all over town. Most importantly Brittany and Sany. Both of you ladies have been an inspiration in my life and I’m honored to be able to call you my runner friends. Can’t wait to follow and support your journeys. I know both of you are going to go far…like 26.2 miles far times x 100! Love you girls.
Running past my face on the course which was located at approximately 1.5 mile marker, was completely surreal. I’m pretty sure I scared so many people off because I screamed my lungs out when I was approaching my cheer squad. This whole moment what captured on tape by the official Bank of America Marathon videographer. I think having my cheer quad there and experiencing this surreal moment with them made my race so successful. I really felt like I couldn’t let anyone down with my performance and it gave me an extra boost, and extra set of wings to get me faster to that finish line. Which I did. I smashed so many records that day. I felt incredibly blessed. Speechless. Euphoric.
After my race, I ended up taking few more pictures by my Nike ad and I happened to Skype with my dad who lives in Poland. I was so happy to have him experience that once in a lifetime moment with me. Have I mentioned how blessed I am already? I am not bragging, faith is and always been the only thing that carries my through all my days. I have stayed faithful, focused, and determined to never give up on my dreams and God just showed up unexpectedly. Like he always does. God always delivers I could not be where I am in life without my faith. And I am so so happy, because God has been more than good to me, even in the midst of my worst days, he’s been faithful, loving and always blessing abundantly, more than I could ever think or imagine.
Thank you to all my friends and family for always believing in me and for always being there when I need it. I couldn’t have achieved anything without your love and support.
Thank you again to Nike for such an amazing campaign and making me a part of it.
Thank you to Marcus Smith who has captured the true essence of every woman’s face and their determination of being the best athlete.
Thank you to Julie Chung for capturing this surreal and unforgettable moment with me and for snapping these beautiful photos. Your creativity and friendship is so very much appreciated.
Love you all,
Your Passionista Marlena
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