If you have just moved to Panama, and are looking for a way to make life long friends, get in shape, set and reach goals way beyond your current ability, talk to Karyn Saunders, Kaye Ashbridge and Corrin Subkin. They will tell you exactly how they did just that.
When Karyn quit smoking in 2006, she took up running to channel her energy into something productive. When she moved from Toronto to Panama in 2008, the outgoing, community oriented life coach, got a number of people motivated to train to run a 5K race. "I did it because I wanted people to run with", says Karyn. Two of those people were Kaye Ashbridge and Corrin Subkin.
The ladies, who only started running together in April of this year, just completed a marathon run of 42.2K, in Panama's 34th International Marathon, on Dec 5th, 2010. None of them knew their training would get them this far when they began to run together in April. Each milestone they reached gave them the confidence to reach a little further. It started at a 5k race in May, then moved to an 8km then 10K in July, to a half marathon of 21K in August, culminating into a decision to train for and run a full marathon in December.
Through the months they kept each other going. "We became friends through this", says Corrin. "We laughed a lot and talked a lot" says Kaye.
In fact, friendship is what Karyn leaned into, when she 'hit a wall' during the marathon, 11k from the finish line. Long distance runners sometimes experience dramatic fatigue when they just can't seem to go on. Paul Scott in an article in Runner's World, describes this time as "a collapse of the entire system: body and form, brains and soul". On December 5th, the girls began their run at 5am from Multiplaza. By 7:30am the sun was out, heating up paved roads and beating down on the runners as they made their way through the course. "The sun and I don't mix" says Karyn, and after 32K, she found herself facing a physical and mental block. With the encouragement of Corrin and Kaye, Karyn kept her feet moving and covered distance. But at some point she asked her friends to go on ahead to work out the final few miles herself. Kaye and Corrin finished strong together. Then they went back to find Karyn and ran her in. The ladies crossed the finish line with linked palms.
"By far this was the most challenging physical accomplishment of my life", Karyn wrote on her Facebook status. "a day I will never ever forget as it represents so much.....friendship, love, support, forgiveness, recovery, perseverance and at the end of the day Pure Determination that comes from somewhere deep within to win the battle and make it to the finish line".
In training for the marathon, all three women dipped deep within themselves and discovered what they are made of. Amazingly Corrin says, "I realized that I loved running and had in fact become a runner". This realization came after Corrin had run 20K. Before that she ran casually - once in awhile for exercise and didn't really like it. "Now I feel I can do anything that I put my mind to".
"The training prepared us", says Kaye. "Karyn gave us a rock solid program and we had a strategy and were ready to do this". "Running is hard", Kaye goes on to say, "It will hurt. When you run your first mile, you will think it’s a miracle. Its not easy to start and its not easy to stay with. But its a great way to keep your body in shape. Just keep going if you want to run. Your body will figure it out."
Training and each other was not the only thing that kept the girls going for 42 plus kilometers. Many friends came out to support them. Friends met them every few kilometers with water, fruit and encouragement. "We felt like famous people", says Corrin, talking about the many people who came out to support them. Kaye puts it well when she says, "It’s a cool community when people get excited about each other's victories".
Indeed. We are excited and inspired by your accomplishment Karyn, Kaye and Corrin. Congratulations!