It’s Friday, and Katie Evers is in the throes of marathon training, mentally preparing herself for the following day’s long run. Not uncommon, she feels more anxious than usual as her busy week has taken away from her capacity to complete the prescribed miles and workouts (i.e., the movement) her brain desires. This year, she’s not just a running coach for Still I Run, but also training to toe the line for much more than 26.2 at the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) on October 29, 2023.
Stress Less, Run More:
Katie’s relationship with running has adapted to her life like water; whether raging like an early-season river or managing to fit into the most impossible of spaces, running has remained an unwavering presence. In college and law school she began running to feel cool and look good, but truly began to develop a deeper connection with running while working as an attorney in Manhattan. Sporadic runs evolved into sightseeing with friends and eventually, an outlet for stress as a new mother working in the Public Defender’s office. Relying on the power of baby wipes and deodorant (we’ve all been there), Katie ran between court appearances to “blow off steam,” and had even planned to run the Pittsburgh Marathon in May 2018.
Instead, her son was diagnosed with Leukemia in April 2018. Soon after his admission to the hospital and with the support of her husband (and her mom, who literally brought running clothes to the hospital), Katie went for a run…and continued to do so, often through tears. Despite the often-overwhelming reality of her family’s new normal, Katie continued running, solidifying her agreement with the sport as a means to decompress.
Friends that Run Together Stay Together:
With her son still in treatment, Katie found her running “family” and raced the NYC Marathon in 2018 and Chicago Marathon in 2019 with Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She planned to follow up with the MCM two weeks later, but after her son took a significant fall secondary to side effects from his treatment, she deferred her race entry to MCM.
Despite this, Katie continued running and has never regretted a run. But like many, she regrets the ones she did not make time for. During Covid, team training runs became solo or six feet apart from her Best Running Friend (BRF) and her now love for running expanded to the trails. Eventually, road races made room for trail races, 50ks, and 50-milers. By 2022, Katie had run at least five marathons or ultras, including a 55k raising money for Maggie’s Mission, a pediatric cancer organization that hit particularly close to home. Many of these miles served as an avenue to cope with vicarious trauma in her then new role as an attorney and advocate for victims of intimate partner violence, abuse, and human trafficking.
Self Care is Not a Luxury. It’s a Necessity:
Katie re-engaged in therapy earlier this year as she continues to process the trauma associated with her son’s diagnosis alongside the demands of her daily life. She often considers her therapy days as doubles: run therapy followed by couch therapy! As she so poignantly articulates, “running doesn’t solve everything, but it often gives [her] perspective and reminds [her] of the important things.” For her, upholding her commitment to running shows her family that self-care is not selfish, but vital. She hopes others can find the self assurance, solace, healing, and endorphins (ALL the lovable endorphins) through running that she has. To her, there is no right way to run, heal, cope, and grow through lived experiences. While each of our journeys are unique to us, Katie’s story embodies the fluid yet unwavering agreement we can have with movement, and that is The Covenant of Running.