February 21 2018
Karen Lyons started running to escape hardship–and couldn’t stop.
|Los Alamos, N.M.
JOB: Author, Retired Teacher
Click photo to enlarge
I started running in my forties and completely fell in love. Now, at age eighty, I’m still pounding the pavement!
When my daughter, Lynette, was in high school, she asked me to take her to the Bonnie Bell 10k in Albuquerque, N.M. Lynette was running cross country at the time. Together we waited to watch every single person cross the line, and cheered with the crowd as the last woman finished. I turned to my daughter and asked, “Do you mean that woman actually ran six miles?”
“Sure, Mom,” she told me. “And you could do it too!”
I tried running the very next day, but could barely get to the top of the hill near my
house. With the help of my daughter and a little bit of patience, I was soon running a bit farther each day. It wasn’t easy, but after I finished my first race—a three-mile relay with Lynette and a few friends—I was hooked. I haven’t stopped running since!
After nearly four decades of racing, I can say that this sport has truly enriched my life. Running has provided so many incredible memories. One of my proudest moments was carrying the torch through Santa Fe for the 2002 Olympics. The most fun I’ve ever had was running Bay to Breakers, a crazy race in San Francisco. My daughter and I dressed as bunny rabbits and carried bunches of carrots the entire way!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve continued to race. I love to compete, but unfortunately, at my age, I don’t have much competition! I often get a first-place, age-group award by default, but honestly, I’d rather come in third and have other women to race against.
That’s why I love the Senior Olympics. In 2009, I made it to the National Games in the 5k and came in ninth place overall. There were only 11 women in my division, but I can still say I rank in the top ten in the nation!
Two years later, I’ve returned from my second National Senior Games with a seventh place finish, two notches better than last time. Now I’m looking forward to the 2013 Games!