This Is Why Eloise Mumford Is All About Racing
The Fifty Shades of Grey actress talks training, giving every race her all and more.

I’m from the Pacific Northwest, so I grew up running outside. But I treated running as just a workout until a friend persuaded me to sign up for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco last year. We trained five days a week for three months. Prepping for the race changed my whole perspective on endurance—both physical and mental.

I had a trainer who created a calendar for me. The plan was two short runs and one long run a week, as well as two days of cross training. We also did group runs. My first one was 3.3 miles, and that sounded so long. But within a few weeks, a 5-mile run seemed short.

My training also included a 10K in Paris—my first race. Running with a group is so different from running by yourself. I was fueled by the energy from the crowd: The thousands of footsteps pounding on the cobblestone streets and echoing off the buildings sounded like rain. It was beautiful. I ended up running a personal best—that’s when I was hooked. The half marathon in SF was even better because my family was there cheering for me.

I’ve found that training translates to acting. Whether it’s a race or a role, the things I work really hard at are the ones I’m most proud of. I think Kate (my character in Fifty Shades of Grey) is such a fierce, strong woman—she would have running a full marathon on her bucket list.

After my half marathon, I set a goal for myself to run one race a month. Running has become so much more than exercise: I’ve found mental focus and purpose. Going through that experience with 25,000 other people is what makes it an event.