Origins

Karen Gartner

Like most people, I did some running in school for phys-ed and track meets. My distance was the 440 (and I honestly can’t remember if that was yards or metres). I was not fast as I was saddened to learn at my one and only track meet competition in grade 7. So that was the end of that.

I tried again in University, running a single mile (which in my mind was HUGE) and trying to lose weight only to have my doctor belittle me with, “one mile is nowhere near long enough to lose weight.” So that was the end of that.

I was doing a show at a theatre (yes, I’m an actor as well as other descriptors) with a fellow who was running marathons. I’d never known anyone like that before. I watched him do a marathon before the Sunday matinee (which blew my mind) and over time, my competitive nature started to kick in. I was still smoking at the time (yes, hilarious in hindsight).

Over time, I continued to run, quit smoking, built myself up to half-marathon distance (13.1 miles or 21 km) — and training for that was where the key to weight loss was for me. I was described as “gaunt” at one time which tickled me no end. I didn’t race, I just wanted to have the fitness and endurance running provided. I always ran outside. To this day I cannot run on a treadmill, nor do I want to. God bless them that can, but I am not among them.