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Keysha Escaped An Abusive Relationship And Began Running

In 2005, I chose to marry my high school sweetheart. I was only 20 years old. What started as a loving relationship slowly turned into violence, isolation and a power struggle. I had my daughter 10 years into my marriage. Hailey was only 4 when I decided to separate from her dad. She showed no signs of trauma because I had shielded her from my negative experiences. Knowing that she needed me, my love, attention and protection inspired me to turn fear into valor, anxiety into determination, and insecurity into confidence. I had to find something other than therapy that gave me that boost of confidence and energy I needed in order to ensure that I was present in taking care of my daughter.

Running has provided me an escape in which I can reflect on life experiences, and the opportunity to grow both mentally and spiritually. I was overweight after my pregnancy, and running also provided me with mental stability which in turn boosted myself self-esteem. I lost 30 pounds but hit a plateau at 168 pounds.

Running has changed my outlook on life. It has helped me put all that matters into perspective. My hope is to bring awareness into a community that is often judged by individuals who have no idea how hard it is to make the decision to leave an abusive relationship. For me, it was literally running from my problems but finding that light at the end of the tunnel.

I am happy to say that I lost the remaining 50 pounds. I have accomplished two marathons, more than 20 half marathons, two Spartan trifectas and several 10Ks and 5Ks in the last four years. I am building a strong athletic little me in my daughter. With all of her disabilities she is ready to conquer the world!

Congratulations to Keysha, winner of our Cover Runner Contest!