How Kate Found a Passion For Ultra Running

I’ve always enjoyed running as a way to challenge myself, clear my mind, and stay healthy. Born and raised in WV, I grew up in Tucker county and was fortunate to begin skiing at a young age. As I grew older, I didn’t play organized sports but joined the Elkins High School Cross Country team my sophomore year of high school. I was never a very fast runner, but loved the challenge and looked forward to running on different courses and trails. Fast forward to 1995, I was 16 & in high school…my father died. 
 
Early memory of me and dad.
He went on a run with me and later began coughing up blood, which in turn we found out after a lot of testing that he had lung cancer. This was in May of 1995. Five months later he died from metastatic lung cancer. It was a very heavy time in my life, and played a huge role in what path I chose to take in life. I went to college, transferred a few times & ultimately became a radiation therapist, in his honor, to help others with cancer.
 
Looking back, I realize how much running has played a part in my healing process. My mom re-married a wonderful man, who completed many marathons & even inspired she & me to challenge ourselves to running longer distances. The marathon training was intense but I ran several marathons & multiple half marathons. I loved the energy of the races! She did too! 
 
My mom and step-dad, Bob.
Marriage & motherhood. What adventures! Through both, running has been an amazing, healthy outlet that has helped me to stay mentally balanced.
 
A close friend recently completed the Rim to River 100 miler and that was my first experience with the world of ultra running. What FUN! She is who inspired me to even consider taking on a distance beyond 26.2 miles. I ran the last 7.5 miles with her as her pacer, however at mile 94.5 it was still dark (and cold) & we missed the correct trail! So, she ended up running 104 miles in 28 hours. Incredible to me!
 
She has been so humble, determined, and an all-around inspiring friend. So, I signed up for my first ultra, Highball to Thurmond Ultra, in hopes of enjoying the experience, challenging myself, and having fun. My only goal is to finish. And to be present to take in the experience.
 
 John & me at the Concho rim overlook after Mandy’s race.

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