Young Alumni Series

Emily Gaines ’15: Running to Success

When Emily Gaines began her marathon running journey, she also decided to apply for a job with the New York Road Runners.

The New York Road Runners is known for hosting the New York City Marathon, but Gaines said that her job as an assistant with the company involves so much more than that one race.

“Most people have heard of the marathon because in the sports industry, it’s considered a major worldwide event,” Gaines said. “Once people make the connection to the marathon, I dive a bit deeper into our organization as a whole. The marathon is our crown jewel, but we put on 50 races year-round and raise millions of dollars for various charities.”

In a job where employees are encouraged to wear running clothes to work each day and take breaks by running through central park, who knows what the average day may hold for this company of runners.

Gaines said that not only does she help plan these 50 events each year, but she works with sponsors of races such as New Balance or Tata Consultancy Services, as well. Additionally, Gaines works to help the vice president keep her schedule straight and works with weekly race clients and other internal departments.

The marathon is the major event of the year and, come November, Gaines life becomes surrounded by the race. The 250 employees of New York Road Runners take over the city to support the 53,000 finishers – the world’s largest marathon.

“I lost count of how many times I cried on Marathon Sunday,” Gaines said. “The New York City Marathon Finish Line is something that I wish every person could experience. It’s the best display of the human spirit and spectrum of emotion. I’ve never been more proud to be a part of something so rewarding. Seeing people from every walk of life, age, gender, athletic capability, finish 26.2 miles — it’s something you never forget. It truly drives and inspires me every day.”

Gaines was searching for races when she came across the job site for the New York Road Runners. On a whim she applied for her position and within a week and a half, Gaines had a new job in New York. But long before she developed a passion for running, Gaines had a passion for Auburn.

Gaines was not a first generation Auburn student – sixteen members of her family came first. With Auburn as her only college application, there were no other choices.

“I genuinely never considered going anywhere else because Auburn was so deeply ingrained in our family,” Gaines said.

Gaines’ family members set a record of greatness at Auburn by becoming involved in opportunities such as track and field, cheerleading or running for Miss Homecoming.

“This is a funny full circle kind of moment,” Gaines said.  “My cousin Luke Gaines was on the Track and Field team as a javelin thrower. I now am working for a running organization, and my uncle Robin Gaines was actually a [long distance] runner and Track and Field high school coach at Bob Jones for years. So it’s come full circle in our family for sure.”

In her own path, however, Gaines became a parent camp counselor at Camp War Eagle and studied abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland and London. Gaines said she

would even go for runs during her trip to Scotland to get to know the property and area.

“I tried to get to know as many people as I could so I could learn from their experiences,” Gaines said. “I also tried a lot of things. I pursued a lot while I was in school and I took every opportunity that came my way. This gave me the chance to explore and figure out what my interests were, what skills I had and helped guide my path to where I am today.”