This Week’s Featured Runner Is Ken!
Ken is running The Negative Split Half Marathon and The Windermere Marathon with us this Spring!
If you need some inspiration this week, READ BELOW! Ken has an incredible story!
“I run because it represents a life I never thought possible. I was born with a heart defect and was not able to participate in sports the way other kids could. Once my heart rate would get too high, an extra nerve in my heart wouldn’t go down–sometimes for days. Don’t get me wrong, I would stubbornly participate in sports like cross country, but I walked, struggled, and came in last place every time. Doctors surgically corrected the defect when I was 11, but the damage to my routine and lifestyle had been done. I had fallen into a sedentary lifestyle of video games and nightly television that followed me into adulthood.
It didn’t really catch up with me until my late 20s and early 30s. My knees were so bad, I couldn’t walk down stairs. My doctor told me that I was obese and prescribed me medication for high cholesterol. I saw a Facebook post of me with friends at a concert and I couldn’t believe how heavy I had become. I wasn’t happy. I retired from video games and started working on P90x at home. After P90X was over, I felt energized and thought about what to do next. I called my best friend, Tyler, and asked if he wanted to go on a run. Neither of us were runners, but he still said “sure, let’s do it.”
We ran 5 miles and felt on top of the world. We struggled, but at the end high-fived each other and talked about how awesome it was. We decided to do it again the next week. I put together a Spotify playlist of inspirational running songs like “Eye of the Tiger” and “Don’t Stop Believing” and we shared the responsiblity of carrying a bluetooth speaker. We high-fived strangers on the Centennial Trail. We learned that my dog liked to run, too. We increased mileage a half mile every week. We joined the Flying Irish, signed up for Bloomsday, then the Missoula Half Marathon, and finally the Portland Marathon. We went from couch to marathon in six months.
Since then, running is my new life. I discovered obstacle course racing (e.g. Tough Mudder and Spartan Race) the next season and triathlon the next. Tyler doesn’t run anymore, but I’ve found a community of runners and new friends through all the run groups that Spokane has to offer. I never learned how to swim as a child, but finally learned through the YMCA and Team Blaze. I’ve now completed two 24-hour World’s Toughest Mudder events and earned two coveted “brown bibs” representing getting through the 5-mile loop of obstacles 10 times. I hold the Strava course record for fastest lap at Canada’s Toughest Mudder and became one of only six people in the world to earn the Toughest Mudder “green bib” for fastest Sprint Lap, at that event. I completed the Ironman Coeur d’Alene last August.
This next season, I will compete in every Spartan Race in the Northwest. I’m becoming Spartan SGX certified and will be forming run groups for the chance to challenge and help others. I’ll take on the Spartan Ultra in the Canadian Rockies and my third World’s Toughest Mudder in Atlanta. I will compete in a series of road and trail races along the way–the Negative Split Half Marathon, the Windermere Marathon, and the Kaniksu 50 miler. I will be using that race to attempt to qualify for a 100 mile race, to be determined, in 2019.
I went from TV addict to race addict. I love running and I can’t be happier with my new life. It gives me a chance to explore Spokane and the Northwest. It gives me a chance to meet and get to know new friends. It gives me a chance to challenge myself, and soon, challenge others. Running gives me a reason to be outside and add years to my life and life to my years. That’s why I run.”
Congratulations, Ken! What an incredible journey you have been on. You are an inspiration to us and so many people. Thank you for sharing!
More Stories: instagram.com/negative_split