I never thought I would be a runner, let alone a running coach! I was diagnosed at age 18 with Crohn’s Disease and didn’t think running was something I would be able to do. In 2006, my mother (who is also a Running Room instructor) ran her first marathon in Ireland and inspired me to start running. In the beginning, I struggled to run for a minute then walk for a minute, but I thought if she could do it, I could do it. The following year I ran my first race, the Tely 10, and I haven’t looked back.
Friends encouraged me to ask at the Running Room to see if they needed a coach. As luck would have it, they were looking for an instructor for their For Women Only training program. I have since instructed a number of Learn to Run programs, 5K programs, and have been leading the 10K program for almost three years. During this time, I have also accomplished a number of personal goals. I have done numerous half marathons, completed the daunting 20K Cape to Cabot and run a full marathon.
I have had some amazing opportunities with the Running Room. I have been the ambassador for the Run4It program for the SHOPPERSLOVE. YOU.Run For Women for two years, and I am on the planning committee for the Dialysis Dash in St. John’s. In my professional life, I am the Development Coordinator for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada in Newfoundland and I am organizing a fundraising run on their behalf.. Without a doubt, I know the support will be there from the Running Room and our amazing community.
Running has introduced me to the most inspiring and supportive community a person could hope to find. My goal as an instructor is to help people achieve their goals, while having fun. I adopted a “nobody runs alone” philosophy: we cheer each other on and always run back to regroup. My training program participants would probably describe me as loud and enthusiastic! In my rule book, you must give high-fives and celebrate every milestone with a smile. I don’t want people to just “do” the program; I want them to enjoy it. When someone in my group meets a goal, the feeling I get is amazing. Hearing them say “I did it!” makes me happy, and I am grateful to be able to contribute in some small way to getting them there.
I truly look forward to instructing training programs and meeting new runners. I start each session with this quote: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” I think this describes running (and life in general) perfectly.
Photo: Karen (centre in blue) with her 10K training program.
Credit: Gerry Mayo