Four months after running her first marathon at the Biofreeze SF Marathon, Katie Burns took 39 minutes off her personal best at CIM.
The marathon is an event like no other, one where elites and the everyday runners challenge their minds and bodies for 26.2 unrelenting miles together on the same course. Each runner’s story is vastly different, making each experience and accomplishment all the more compelling.
As Katie Burns toed the line at the 2018 California International Marathon (CIM) on December 2nd, it would be her second marathon of the year and her second, lifetime. Four months prior in July, she made her foray into the world of marathoning at the 2018 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon, finishing with a chip time of 4:08:46.
A self-proclaimed “non-sporty person”, Burns has always had a love for being outside as much as she could. Naturally, running found its way into her life as a way of channeling her energetic personality, starting with one of many couch-to-5K training plans that she would find on the internet. As her running became more steady, she ultimately found herself in the RUN365 training club where she would eventually become a pacer.
“The biggest success I have found has been community and consistency,” Burns said. “I absolutely love being a part of RUN365 because I know I always have a running buddy waiting for me and a run already scheduled. Even as things got crazy at work and in life, I was able to carve out an hour here or there to join my friends for a run, which made all the difference in my training.”
Burns entered CIM with confidence in her build-up, logging in the necessary miles with the proper dose of speed work and long runs. Despite some major setbacks, such as unhealthy air quality throughout the Bay Area caused by the Camp Fire in Northern California, and her tune-up race, the Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon*, being canceled; Burns made sure her training stayed on course, logging in as much as a 20-mile run on the treadmill for her final long run of the training block.
Her unwavering persistence in training would pay off as she would fly across the finish line to a new personal best time of 3:29:03, knocking 39 minutes off her previous best and qualifying for the 2020 Boston Marathon.
When asked about the best advice she has for her fellow runner who’s trying to knock off big minutes from their marathon PRs, she advises, “My best advice would be to find a steady crew with similar goals to you for your weekend long runs, and one priority weekday run a week.”
Burns reminds us that each runner’s path is unique to their experience and background, and each story is a new series of individualized adventures. “It’s really easy to get caught into everyone else’s goals or think you should be running a certain time or pace. Running is unique because while we pursue our own personal bests, we’re still completely supportive of our friends pursuing their own goals.”
As with any running journey, prioritizing fun is the most fulfilling aspect of a runner’s experience. “Adventure is wherever you find it,” Burns said. “Don’t lose the sense of curiosity and playfulness that makes the miles all the more meaningful.”
*Burns was selected as a 2018 Ambassador for the Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon