A New Support Group for Runners

Run Balanced

By Alex Biss

The Birth of a Support Group

One of the hardest parts about my vestibular illness is the toll it has taken on my capacity for physical activity. In the fluid stage of recovery that I’m in, RunBalanced was born. This isn’t just a space for runners; it’s a haven for everyone who finds joy in putting one foot in front of the other. RunBalanced is a safe space for those who want to incorporate running and exercise into their life in a balanced way. It is absolutely not about pace, distance or races. Instead, it’s about celebrating that “I got out the door to exercise” feeling.

About Me

My name is Alex, and I am going to learn to be your fearless running leader and bring you a source of inspiration. I am 24 years old and live in Toronto, Canada. While I’ve had balance problems since my childhood, my official vestibular journey began when I was diagnosed with chronic vestibular migraines in 2021. On the left (see photo), is me 30 minutes before an episode hit. I was scared, dizzy, and hopeless.

I finally met a doctor who helped. My physiotherapy and medication began to bring me back to my old self. I’d never run before, but I signed up for my first half marathon in March 2023. Whether it was the delusion or deep desire to prove to myself that I was able to be active again, I somehow managed to complete it the following May. From this race, I caught the running bug. Next, I signed up for my next half marathon.  Fast forward to a year later, and I completed my first full marathon in May 2024.

While I still have dizzy days, I can appreciate my good days even more, and I attribute exercise as a MASSIVE part of my recovery. On the right (photo), a happy dizzy girl who can run, and also smiles again.

If you are passionate about running and you have a vestibular disorder, you’ve come to the right place. Or, if you are a total beginner and want to come and see what it’s about, we encourage you to drop in. Whether running is just a hobby or your way of life, exercise can play an important role in your vestibular recovery. Come and share your goals and challenges and in turn receive support, compassion, and hope! I want this group to be an online community for those struggling with dizziness, and to show that an active life can be possible. If this group motivates one person to give running a go, I will call it a success.

Join me as we lace up our shoes, embrace the road ahead, and embark on a journey where encouragement, support, and inspiration pave the way.

My dream for RunBalanced is to share in the power of running to transform lives and bring people together. My mission is to foster an inclusive community where every voice is heard, every journey is valued, and every achievement is celebrated. Here, it’s not about pace or distance, but about the passion and dedication that unite us all as runners…and also, to build up to possibly running distances, as I have done, successfully and unsuccessfully.

So, If you are passionate about exercise or running and you have a vestibular disorder, you’ve come to the right place. Whether running is just a hobby or your way of life, it can play an important role in your vestibular recovery, and we deserve to have athletic goals.

Stay tuned for RunBalanced. I am very excited for this journey and all the interactive plans I have. Join us the first Monday of every month at 7pm Eastern time.

Click here to learn more about the RunBalanced support group and get connection information.