By: Katie Watt
Nov. 11, 2013
Think you could never run a half marathon? Stacey Barnum, Human Resources employment coordinator, did, too. But on Oct. 20, Barnum finished the Sports Authority Rock 'n' Roll Denver Half Marathon with her coworkers Shaunda Norman, Sarah Childs and Angela Ramlet.
How does a group of HR employees decide to run a half marathon together? The motivation stems from their director, Amy King, an avid runner. "It's incredible to have a director who is so encouraging about being active," Norman says. Adds Barnum, "Amy and I went out to lunch one day, and she talked about her training experience, and answered my questions and concerns."
King's support was natural. "I had heard that several of the women were going to run the race, and I thought, 'how cool!'" she says. "We called ourselves the 'fab five'; there was a lot of excitement."
Though the group did not train together, due to being at different levels, they said sharing the experience helped keep them on track. King ultimately had to drop the race due to a knee injury, but she was there for the runners every step of the way. "The thing about running," King says, "is that it's not a team sport. You're your own worst enemy. It means a lot to have people to check in with, from training, to how you feel, to equipment."
Being able to talk about their training plans, how it was going, and seeking advice from each other was invaluable to the runners. "If one of us said 'I'm going to go run 10 miles tonight,' it was motivational," Ramlet says. "I'd go out and run 10 miles too!"
Aside from the physical wellness benefits, the women gained in the office too. "When people are taking care of themselves, the 'presenteeism' happens at work," King says. "They've always had positive attitudes, and now we have an even stronger sense of camaraderie."
With the race now behind them, the team is continuing to remain active by participating in Thrive Across America. "You really can fit it in, no matter how busy you are," Childs says. Barnum adds, "At first I felt like I was cheating by logging walking; I used to think working out had to be this big 'sweat-fest,' but now I realize it doesn't have to be."
"I am so proud," King says. "Now these women have the personal satisfaction from accomplishing 13.1 miles."
"I used to look at other people and think, 'oh, wow, they ran a half marathon, I could never do that!'" Barnum says. But she did.