Lakeville/Burnsville (MN) Moms on the Run members all live a bit vicariously through fellow teammate Karen McKinley's adventures in running. From Disney races with festive costumes to rugged trail running adventures to smaller scale unique hometown races across the country, Karen is always up for the next adventure.
Not even a pandemic could stop her. "Covid cancellations made planning her adventures a bit more challenging in 2020," said Lakeville/Burnsville Moms on the Run franchise owner Kim Burggraaf, "but somehow Karen managed to still find a few racing opportunities. We joked a bit that if anyone would find a race open in 2020, it would be Karen, and she sure did!"
Kim added: "Karen is always up for an adventure and comes to every meetup with the best positive outlook and cheery smile, encouraging all around her in the process. Her passion for seeking out running adventures, enthusiasm for life, and dedication and grit to staying the course and finishing her miles is such an inspiration to us all!"
Learn more about Karen's story and why she's our inspiring member of the month.
Q: When did you first join Moms on the Run? Were you a runner before or was this a new endeavor for you? What prompted you to join?
A: I joined Moms on the Run in 2015, with the goal to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon February 2016. I knew I needed support, training and accountability to take myself from zero to Half Marathon, and Moms on the Run did all that and more! I gained technical training and met my goal, but along the way I got something even greater — friendships, fun, confidence, support. My goals became my teams goals. They inspired me to reach into myself and accomplish more than I had dreamed.
Q: You are known in your group for your awesome running adventures. Please tell us about some of your favorites.
A: Disney races are nearest and dearest to my heart; I’ve run 5 Princess Half Marathons, 2 Disneyland Halfs, Wine & Dine Half, Disneyland Paris and the full Marathon! I’ve recently discovered a love of trail running. The trails are challenging, beautiful, adventurous. The focus is less on pace and more on place. It’s a great fit and my Lakeville Moms on the Run group offers plenty of trail options — even in winter! I’ve now run trail races at Grand Canyon, Mt Rushmore and Zion National Park. I look forward to Yellowstone this summer!
Q: How did the pandemic affect your running journey?
A: My Lakeville Moms on the Run group was ultra creative in finding ways for us to run together, virtually or socially distanced in person. We continued to support each other and create accountability. Personally, the pandemic cancelled a lot of races leading me to shift focus. I no longer run for the races or medals and bling, it’s become more about the experience of running. That may be part of why trail running has become a favorite — it’s about the beauty of the trail, not the bling at the end.
Q: Please share a little about your training and the “jeffing” method that you prefer.
A: I learned about interval running with Moms on the Run, and combined it with the Galloway (“jeffing”) method. My favorite race interval is 30-30 seconds. The walk break is actually more like a speed walk. I reduce fatigue and am fastest using this method. It actually got me through my first marathon!
Q: It sounds like you are always looking for the next running adventure. What’s up next?
A: I’ll be running half marathons at Grand Teton and Yellowstone, and Grandma’s in Duluth.
Q: What would you tell someone who is not a runner about what Moms on the Run has meant to you?
A: Moms on the Run has given me lasting and enduring friendships. Support, Accountability. The best training and coaching. Fitness. The confidence to achieve not only my fitness goals, but also carried over into all parts of my life. I believe I’m strong, a winner, capable. I cannot say enough about how truly life impacting Moms on the Run has been. You don’t need to be a runner to gain benefit from this program — you just need to want to be active, healthy, and part of a supportive sisterhood!
Q: Please share a little about yourself (family, job, hobbies, etc.)
A: I live in Farmington, MN and am a Hennepin County Social Worker. My husband is a runner, and I got a lot of inspiration from seeing his accomplishments and wanting to cross my own finish lines! My son is grown and an Air Force Pilot. I’ve gotten him to run the Anchorage One Mile with me! I love travel, running, Disney and animals (at one time had 4 cats, 1 dog and a salamander — that was the kids idea!). I’m excited for Spring to come, running with my Moms on the Run friends and new running adventures!