15,000 runners will stop traffic in Manhattan on March 17th— the NYC Half 2013 will take runners on a tour of the city, from Central Park through Times Square to South Street Seaport.
The NYC Half, organized by the New York Road Runners, is about more than running 13.1 miles—it’s about helping runners overcome challenges, run for charity or run their personal best. It’s a community of runners with a mission to provide all people everywhere with a reason to run—today, tomorrow and for life.
Kristen Finneran will be running on Sunday for Team for Kids, a charity that strikes a chord close to her heart—a story gaining momentum as she was recently interviewed by an ABC reporter in Central Park.
Team for Kids is a team of volunteers committed to improving the lives of children through running, adding meaning to each mile endured. All funds raised through Team for Kids benefits the New York Road Runners youth services. One program aims to combat childhood obesity and empower youth development via running. Kristen is amongst the top five fundraisers.
Kristen spent most of her childhood and adolescent years struggling with weight. With only eight years of age, Kristen began her journey to overcome her battle—she joined weight watchers, went to weight loss camps, visited numerous nutritionists and had personal trainers.
With the support and encouragement of her family, Kristen was provided with tools to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Unfortunately, there are many children struggling with obesity, many of whom have limited or no access to regular physical activity or support they need to live healthy lives.
As Kristen’s overall health was at risk, surgeons suggested gastric bypass surgery and warned that the bypass is not a magic pill, but instead an instrument to achieve health. This suggestion became an avenue of consideration. In 2004, Kristen underwent gastric bypass surgery.
Kristen understood that her journey with weight would continue after surgery and daily physical activity would be required—it would be up to her to to to carry out a healthy lifestyle. Finding an form of exercise, a regimine she would enjoy and look forward to, would be a top priority.
Post surgery, the weight began to come off…fast.
As Kristen acclimated to specific dietary requirements, she also developed a relationship with running. Similar to her relationship with weight, running was an uphill battle and it did not come easy for her. She could barley run a quarter of a mile and has now built up to seven miles without stopping.
Eight years later, Kristen genuinely explains that the surgery helped her arrive to where she now stands—days away from the starting line of her first half marathon.
To this day, Kristen has lost over 130 pounds and expresses that the maintenance remains a life long journey.
Kristen spends her days working as a Bereavement Counselor at an end of life care hospital, which has required her to develop solid self-care techniques. You can hardly imagine the obstacles, challenges or heartaches each day presents, but at the end of the day, she can run.
She happily admits that she is not fast and humbly explains that it certainly isn’t pretty. That is not the point. The point is, with each passing day, Kristen laces up her running shoes, placing one foot in front of the other as she begins her stride outside —clearing her mind as she focuses on her goal of running 13.1 miles.
Kristen wants other children to have that same opportunity—to become healthier before they have to undergo a significant life altering surgery.
Kristen will run for them and for those who cannot run.
Kristen is one of those people with the ability to make you feel like everything is going to be ok, without actually saying those exact words. There is something about her demeanor that resonates within, long after the conversation has lost it’s meaning. She is an inspiring person who continues to amaze me. I say this because I spent one summer working with Kristen, digging in the dirt planting flowers. That was nearly six years ago and I still circle back to specific advice she offered in her counselor ways—with a smile.
Whether you are a runner, have worked with children, or have kids yourself, join Kristen and she runs to further this great cause. Support Kristen on her inspiring journey—cheer her on as she works towards that finish line.
Learn more about Kristen and her efforts to raise funds for Team for Kids—she is seeking support of their inspiring mission. Team for Kids is a team of volunteers who raise funds for critical services provided by New York Road Runners Youth Programs. These programs combat childhood obesity and empower youth development via running and character-building programs in low-income schools and community centers in New York City, throughout the country, and in Africa.
Lacy Rae Ramunno is a gal who chases many butterflies. An artist at heart, Interior Designer by trade, a lover of nature and all things snow capped. Passionate about healthy living and balance, she recently relocated to Huaraz, Peru in search of a soul-enriching experience. Thankfully, she’s maintained remote employment with a fantastic firm, the Ellipse Group and participating in an apprenticeship with elephant journal. Lacy is currently rediscovering her talent for visual communication through different mediums – while learning to pair that love with the written word as a component of her journey. Perhaps she’ll pick up some Spanish along the way.
Ed: Kate Bartolotta
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(Photos provided by Kristen Finneran)