Every day during our Indiegogo campaign we’re shining a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Heather Van Buren, a newbie runner (and now half marathoner!) who’s in the midst of transitioning back into graduate school to become an Occupational Therapist.

Here’s what she had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
My greatest accomplishment was completing my first half marathon yesterday, side by side with one of my best friends. It was an amazing, albeit difficult journey. I have very much admired athletes that participate in big races, and hoped that one day I could be a part of one. Having now completed my first half,  I’m ready to take on a new challenge.

How did you achieve it?
I began training for the half marathon about two months ago, with regular runs every few days. Between runs, I practiced yoga and attended pilates classes regularly. Stretching on my own was also imperative for maintaining flexibility. I didn’t see big physical changes in my body, however I progressively began to feel more energized from the cardiovascular training.

What motivates you to make the world a better place?
I believe that we as humans are meant to constantly help each other when we can. A large motivation for me is seeing the positive effects of my actions on others, usually my friends and family. I also get the chance to volunteer at a couple of hospitals, where I speak to the patients about their rehabilitation progress.

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
Most importantly, I attempt to sleep 7-8 hours a night. I maintain a healthy diet most of the time, eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and fatty omega-3s. I enjoy fish, but try to eat other meat and dairy sparingly. I eat every few hours to keep myself focused on what I’m doing, instead of when my next meal is going to be. To stay fit, I go to SPX pilates classes 3-4 times a week, and jog or walk on the off days. I would like to start playing tennis because it’s a sport I’ve never been very good at, but looks fun once you get the hang of it. There are always times when staying healthy and fit is a challenge; however, I try my best!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
You are loved.

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
There’s no doubt that my favorite part is the part that donates to those in need. After all, that’s why we’re doing this. Additionally, the people that manage Charity Miles are really awesome. By combining the world of exercise and philanthropy, they have created an amazing platform for people to contribute toward making a difference.

Who do you exercise for, and why?
I think when it comes down to it, I do this because it feels right. There is no better feeling than contributing toward something positive, and subsequently making a difference in someone’s life.

Are you inspired? Contribute to our Indiegogo!

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