What motivates people to run a marathon varies as widely as the courses they run. For some, it’s a bucket list item or bragging rights but, for Heather Bahnsen, it’s the same thing that got her started running in the first place – camaraderie.
“I’ve run a lot of races with my friends Katie and Claire over the years. It’s kind of our thing that we do,” said Heather, who lives in Lakewood. “After we finish a race we always say, ‘Okay, what race do we want to do next?’ It keeps us in shape and motivates us to keep running.”
But running wasn’t always a fun activity for Heather.
“Honestly, I never liked to run, even as an athlete in high school. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I got hooked,” said Heather. “My mom signed me up for a 5k race and, after running it, I fell in love with it. I stayed motivated because of my family. My mom and dad would run with me and then we started doing races together…It’s always fun to train and end a race with them.”
Heather has racked up dozens of 5k, 10k and half marathon races over the years, but she’s never tried a full marathon until this year.
“I haven’t participated in the Akron Marathon before, but decided to sign up because my friend Katie got a job as an occupational therapist at Akron Children’s,” said Heather. “I thought the race would be a great way to support the work that she does.”
As Heather was completing her registration for the race, she learned she was able to take her support one step further as a Children’s Champion.
“As a registered nurse, I thought being a champion was a perfect way for me to find motivation during my training,” said Heather. “I love knowing that my running is raising money to ensure young children are provided with excellent care during their time of need…it’s a very rewarding feeling.”
While Heather focuses on her 16-week training schedule to prepare for the daunting 26.2-mile race alongside her friends, she’s hoping that her commitment motivates others to support her as a Children’s Champion.
To learn more about becoming a Children’s Champion or to sponsor Heather, click here.