Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Kathryn Walby, a mother turned runner who made the brave decision to get healthy on her 40th birthday.

Here’s what she had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Running the Rock CF half marathon in March 2013. It was my first half (and only eight months after starting to run regularly at all). I didn’t set any records, but I finished. And it was inspiring to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research and run alongside really amazing people. I also had Charity Miles running for the race — so my entry fee went to CF research and the 13.1 miles helped another charity.

How did you achieve it?
I decided to train only eight weeks prior to the race — which is theoretically, not a big deal — but I live in Michigan. So I started training in December and did all the runs outside (so that my GPS & Charity Miles apps would still work!) in rain, and in snow.

What motivates you to make the world a better place?
I love the idea of daily small contributions making a significant difference — like the quote about billions of drops of water that carved the Grand Canyon. Years ago I decided that I would work to make a difference in someone’s life every day — whether through organized volunteer work, helping a neighborhood parent by watching their children, carrying groceries for someone who could use a hand, or just taking time to listen to someone after I asked them how they were doing that day. Paying attention to your fellow humans matters, and it’s through behavior that I’m teaching my children.

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
I either run or walk every morning with Finn. I also walk two miles with a group of coworkers every day at lunch, and then take Finn on another walk (usually with my sons) every evening. I plan to start cross training with weightlifting to start improving my race times this summer.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I ever received was from my dad, who consistently told me that I could do whatever I put my mind toward.  After having defined myself for most of my life as a non-athlete, I have become a runner in less than a year — not overnight, and not without sacrifice, but by choosing to make this activity a significant part of my identity. I apply the same philosophy to all of the areas in my life, and find myself much happier than I had ever anticipated I could be.

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
I love Charity Miles. It makes it so easy to use every time I step out the door: chose the sport, choose the charity, and hit “start.” I love the feeling that I’m doing more than just getting exercise, and it helps — especially on the long runs — to inspire me to go an extra mile. I have actually told some of my running partners that I need to take another lap because I wanted to donate another portion of wood for Habitat, or another day of school for Girl Up, or another minute of support for Autism Speaks.

Who do you exercise for, and why?
I exercise so that I have the energy and confidence to be fully present in my life — for my family, for my workplace, and for my community. I sign up for races that have a charitable purpose (Race for the Cure, Run for the Hills, Hero Rush, Turkey Trot), and I use Charity Miles so that every step helps organizations to make a difference in the world.

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