Jane Kim is a college senior at the University of Texas in Austin, studying corporate communications. She is constantly on her phone or laptop, she says, and the barrage of digital media draws her in. At the same time, she sees that kids are doing more and more indoors on a screen, and spending less time outdoors. She sees a need for kids to run.
Growing up in Pflugerville, Texas, Jane and her older sister attended Timmerman Elementary School and participated in the Marathon Kids program. Some years, she only ran the minimum amount, Jane says. And some years, she ran much more. After she finished 5th grade, she participated in track, cross country, and soccer in both middle school and high school, and ran on her own every day.
This year, Jane completed her 8th half-marathon in San Francisco, and running is a big part of her life, she says.
“Marathon Kids spurred a lot of my interest and passion for running,” Jane says. “It really opened my eyes to see how fun running is.”
As a kid, Jane was into martial arts and ice skating, and she considered herself someone who was interested in sports. But it wasn’t until Marathon Kids instilled a love for running that continues today that she saw herself as a runner. Those lessons took hold.
“I love running for a goal,” she says. “Distance, or speed. I loved how Marathon Kids made it easier to attain those goals by making it clear what they are, and also having a buddy system so that no one is left behind.”
It’s clear from Jane’s Instagram feed (especially her Fitness highlights) that she loves to run. She sets her goals based on her personal bests at each race, and she knows that every time she meets or exceeds a goal, she is pushing herself to be better and continue to excel. She thanks Marathon Kids for giving her this drive from her elementary school years. She sees how it has changed her.
“I feel like Marathon Kids does a good job making running possible for everyone,” she says. “It’s a judgement free zone – no matter how fast or slow you are, it’s a welcoming place for everyone to improve themselves.”
She is up to her ears in school work to finish college right now, but Jane wonders if she might even be a Marathon Kids coach someday. She understands from personal experience that running gives kids a sense of confidence that propels them to see their bodies in a new light: in strength, and not just a vessel. “I think of Marathon Kids as more than a fitness program,” she says. It is a program for life, and she would love to be that mentor for kids.
Jane doesn’t have her next race on the calendar, but it won’t be long until she’s training again. She’s sold on the benefits that running brings to her life, and she’s not stopping any time soon.
“Running is so liberating,” Jane says. “People always ask, ‘How are you able to run for so long?’ For me, running is my outlet to have that ‘me’ time. That alone time. Even when I‘m running with other people, whether I’m having a good day or bad day I can look forward to a run to empty out my mind. I don’t have to rely on equipment; you’re just focused on you.”