Abbott Spotlight On Health

Marathon journey for mum of three

When a working mother of three puts her mind to a new challenge, there is no stopping her. Meet Kitty Honeychurch from Alberta, Canada who squeezes in marathon training and racing when not juggling a busy work and family life. A true inspiration for many moms out there.

“My running journey began in 2018 when my gym offered a half marathon training program. Prior to that, I was not a runner, did not enjoy running, and could not understand the appeal of running. I was petrified at the thought of running a half marathon but to my surprise, I took to the challenge of structured training with my fellow newbie runners and I was hooked. What was supposed to be a ‘one-and-done’ bucket list item became the start of something new and exciting for me.

“As a full-time working mother to three busy kids (then ages 5-13), finding time to pursue an activity for myself was not easy and involved a lot of mom-guilt. But, it became my form of self-care, my time to fill my cup.”

After completing three half marathons in 2018, her coach suggested she step up to a full marathon and shared her own goal of completing the Abbott World Marathon Majors. This was the first time Kitty had heard of the program but it got the wheels turning and a new goal was put in motion.

Her first marathon in Calgary didn’t go to plan with a ‘DNF’ (did not finish) due to dehydration but this made her even more determined to go again. Race number two saw her finish in 3:44, qualifying her for the 2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon - her first Major.

The dream of getting her first Star was put on hold for a year due to the pandemic but it was worth the wait.

“Chicago was amazing, I loved every second of it! The crowds and energy were amazing and I soaked up every second of my 3:59 finish!

Star No. 1 in the bag for Kitty

“Chicago was my ‘reward’ race as I ran the Calgary Marathon for the second time three weeks prior and finished that race in 3:35 (qualifying for both Boston in April 2022 and New York City in November 2022, assuming no changes to current qualifying time standards). I'm so psyched to be part of the AbbottWMM family now!”

Having the support of her family and showing them what you can achieve is a big driver for Kitty and her running.

“In Calgary all three kids saw me cross the finish line – they saw the end result of my many Sunday morning disappearances.

“I can’t wait for them to experience the world class events in Boston and New York in 2022 as I wasn’t able to take them to Chicago with me. And I hope they are learning that in life there will always be excuses (weather, too busy, too tired, etc.) but if you set your mind to it, if you prioritize it, you can achieve it.”

Not only does Kitty manage her work as an accountant, her three children and her running, she’s also been going through a separation from her husband this past year too.

“I decided after many years that this is my one life and I have to live it. Having a partner who isn’t supportive of your hobbies or passions is hard. I have always put my family first but now that they are getting older I feel I deserve to carve out time for myself. I deserve to feel strength and empowerment and I get that from my running.

“I am so fortunate to be surrounded by supportive family and friends and my employer is also very flexible with work hours so I have a great network and everything can and does work.”

Running has not only been a physical release for Kitty but the mental gain from it has surprised her the most.

“Running was key for me getting through the pandemic in 2020. Running has been an escape from the confines of working from home. It is time for myself, where I let my mind wander and just focus on left foot forward, right foot forward. I let my emotions take over when I run so if I feel like crying, I let the tears flow. And 100% of the time, I feel better by the time I stop my watch.

“I did not expect running to benefit my mental health so much. I used to see running as a chore but now, I look forward to changing into my running clothes and heading outside. And when the weather is good, my youngest will bike beside me when I run. He tries to get me out of breath. We like to play the game of ‘Let's Get Lost’ by zig zagging up and down the streets, pathways, and alleys in our neighborhood. We never know where we end up, the fun is having him lead us home!”

With two more Majors lined up for Kitty this year, what is next on the bucket list?

“My coach would like me to qualify for Berlin, meaning I have to run a race under 3:20! I'm not sure if NYC will be my "A" race, or if I want to run that for fun. We shall see. Beyond chasing my stars, I would like to do a 100km ultra with my coach. Trail running will be so much different than road running, but I'm intrigued and excited for that challenge!!”

*Always consult a physician and get a full health evaluation prior to marathon training.Even if athletes appear healthy after treatment or surgery, or to have a disorder under control, underlying medical conditions could exist. 

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