Name: Shawn Church
What’s your running story?
I was never a runner but in a quest to get into shape I set the goal of completing a triathlon. Before I was able to complete my first mini sprint I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy a week before my intended race. The director asked me to consider the same race the following month and that became my new goal, which I did-I couldn't run the whole mile and a half but I finished. My friend Brandi challenged me to run Sgt. Preston that January and after completing it I set a new goal, 1 century ride, 3 triathlons and 5 5k's (135 became my mantra). I signed up for Friday 5k and when I got my race number it was like kismet-135. I had lots of inspiration around me, my amazing husband and kids, Jill and Melissa were always getting me to set new goals. I found Run Muskegon and met Alana, Jen and Colin and the rest is history. I became a runner, I fell in love with running and the family which is Run Muskegon. When I was diagnosed again with stage 3 invasive breast cancer last fall they surrounded me with love and hope. I committed to try and run through treatment and I did. For me running became a way to fight, a way to show my kids I was strong and a way to live. Chemotherapy made me slower and distance was tough but every week I showed up, often a friend would slow their pace to run with me, my husband even started running and did his first 1/2 marathon for me. I would lace up and run past my kids school so that they would see me run by. God blessed me with the ability to continue to run and I am forever thankful to have the support, love and prayers from my tribe, my flock, my running community. My favorite verse guides my heart and my feet, "They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary…". Isaiah 40:31
What is your favorite post race food/drink?
What is your most embarrassing running story?
I always have to pee-ask anyone that's been on a long run with me! Once we stopped at the port a potty and as I'm inside it shifted forward-I thought for sure it would tip! It didn't but still scary!
What’s your favorite running distance?
What is your favorite city to run in?
Muskegon! I've had the pleasure of running from coast to coast, beaches, mountains, the desert, in the rain, snow and sunshine. I love running new cities but Muskegon is my favorite.
What is your best running memory?
Wow! That's such a hard question, I have so many great memories...I'd have to say my one and only marathon. I ran Kalamazoo with Heidi, Ryan and Colin but we trained with Jen, Melissa, Pedro and many others from Run Muskegon. The race was tough but we had so many friends and family come to support us - it was unbelievable and so inspiring! Jen surprised us at mile 20 and it was just an unbelievable day but really the whole experience, from commitment to training to crossing that line was something I'll never forget, having my husband, kids and a pile of friends along the course and at the finish line was awesome.
Ragnar - I just don’t even have words-this experience was amazing; I could not have better friends (not easy to roll 6 deep in a Tahoe and still love one another).
Gazelle girl has a special place in my heart, it was my first ½ with Heidi, watching Nancy do her first ½, getting the chance to be an Angel for Team Triumph and doing the 5K with Sofia! I also can’t forget the Color Run with Skylar (so awesome to run with your kids even if they disagree), watching Jeff’s first half, the Bridge run with Mel, every Bayshore with the ladies, the Marine Corps ½ with Gayle and Christie and Sgt Preston-my first inspired by Brandi and my PR crossing with Jen. Watching anyone complete their first Triathlon!
Favorite Places to Run:
I love to run by the beach, the bike path-around the bend at sunset on a Wednesday night Pigeon Hill run seeing the colors of the sails against the setting sun, the Meijer Trail in the fall, it's short and sweet but occasionally you can race a middle schooler, the block house hill loop in the winter, I really can't believe I'm saying this but I've grown to love winter running and the fresh snow is like being inside of a snow globe, downtown is always great as well!
Did you run before joining Run Muskegon?
Very little…I still had my tennis shoes from high school and a gait like an elephant
Why did you join Run Muskegon?
I wanted to challenge myself and I fell in love with this group, someone inspires me every time I come
If you had to nominate a runner for us to feature next week, who should we talk to?
Mel B-the runner not the Spice Girl-she's spicy but not British
What would you say to anyone looking to run with Run Muskegon?
Just do it! Don't wait to be a "runner" just come and run or walk or hang out! No matter your pace we have people that will run with you, train with you, challenge and support you and your goals-its an amazing family!