December 12 2017
Meet Rhonda-Marie and Steven Parke, two ultrarunners who discovered their love for each other through running.
|Mammoth Lakes, CA
SPORTS: Track and Field
JOB: Professional Athlete
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RUNNING WITH PURPOSE
My goal is to make the U.S. Olympic team in 2012 and to win an outdoor national track title. I feel like right now I am perfectly suited for the 3,000-meter distance, which unfortunately is no longer an outdoor track event. There is a 3,000-meter steeplechase, which I may try this year, presuming I can pick up hurdling! However, I think my future is definitely in the 5,000. (I’d also like to run a marathon.)
My challenge is to stay balanced. Our sport can be all consuming. You can let it become your entire identity. It’s a dangerous thing, because success is often unpredictable. I find when I overemphasize running, I become less happy than when I make serving others, loving family and following my faith priorities in my life as well. My husband (2008 Olympic marathon runner Ryan Hall) and I do a lot of running together. Often, we have some of our best conversations and times connecting on runs. His amazing courage and confidence inspires me.
One of my passions is working with World Vision (worldvision.org), a child-centered organization that helps to empower impoverished communities. My participation has been through Team World Vision, a program that raises money for projects in Africa. Athletes dedicate a race – no matter what type or distance – and recruit sponsors to pledge donations. Recently, Ryan and I went to Zambia to see the results of the money raised by Team World Vision at the Chicago Marathon last year – it was exciting to see that drilling had begun to provide clean drinking water.