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Aiming High with Helping Hands: Inspiring 5K Running Stories

By Allison Bonner | October 10, 2014 | Careers & Culture, Employee Spotlights

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Reaching your fitness goals is hard work. It takes dedication and perseverance, but in the end, knowing how far you can go is worth the bumps along the way.

That spirit of accomplishment is very much with us here at BCBSNC, especially right now.  As we speak, almost 200 employees are preparing to run a 5K, through a program we call Desk to 5K, many of them for the very first time!

If you’ve ever wanted to run (or walk!) a 5K, but never thought you would be able to, these inspiring stories and tips from some of our trainees and mentors might be just what you need to get going.:

Tamara and Francina, making the right moves!

Family Fun & Training Buddies: Tamara McKellar and Francina Mills

Tamara McKellar: Having a training buddy allows you to be accountable. On days I don’t feel like training, my mom is right there to give me the push I need to get out there! Then we’re inspired to eat healthy together too. Changing life-long habits aren’t easy, so having someone there to motivate you is priceless.

Francine Mills: I agree! Accomplishing goals together creates a lasting memory of success. Knowing that my family completed this with me makes it even more special, and hopefully it becomes a story that can be passed on to encourage others.

Tamara McKellar: Training with a partner, especially family, makes crossing the finish line even sweeter. My 15 your old sister even comes out to run with us. When we make it to the finish, we are all motivated to do better!

The award-winning Morgan.
The award-winning Morgan.

Training Transformation, the Seasoned Runner: Morgan Quattlebaum

“I first began my running journey about 10 years ago in an effort to lose weight, but then I fell in love with the sport. Jesse Owens put it best: ‘I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and courage of your lungs.’ Now I enjoy mentor others to share the courage and self-discovery that comes through running while building a healthy lifestyle!

“My best tip for new runners is to keep going and keep moving. Injuries can and will happen, but if what’s holding you back is that your sore from a previous run or the weather is too hot or cold, don’t let that stand in your way! Get out there and just run a mile or two. As they say, “No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch”.

Starting Small: Penny Beal

Penny's got it going on with some special guest stars.
Penny’s got it going on with some special guest stars.

“When my first 5K was only a few weeks away, I remember fearing that I might not be able to finish the race, even though I had trained.  Not only did I finish, but I finished in a shorter time than I had thought I would!  I crossed the finish line, and I felt the most incredible sense of accomplishment. I just kept repeating, “I did it! I did it!”. I must have said that to my husband 100 times. What made the day even more special was that my husband and son ran with me. They both finished ahead of me, but they circled back to cheer me on for the final stretch.

“After participating in Desk to 5K I wanted to run a longer distance. It was time for a new challenge. Believe it or not, I was really enjoying running, and wanted to set a new goal. This time, I set my sights on the Disney Half Marathon. It was a hot and humid day, but I made it to the finish line in 2 hours and 45 minutes. This fall I’m going to try running a 10K because I’ve never run one before. It’s important to have goals, big or small to keep you motivated.”

The Mentor: Dr. Larry Wu

All smiles from Dr. Wu.

“For me, running is more than just fitness; it is about freedom and fun. I enjoy mentoring new runners to bring them a bit closer to a healthful activity.

“For any experienced runners who may want to become a running buddy or mentor, role modeling safe running or walking is key, although a few well timed hints or tips come in handy too! Amp up the fun by celebrating small victories – never underestimate the power of a high five!”

Have you found running success as a mentor or with a friend? Tell us your story.