Kim Barnes - Gazelle Sports Activator

My Gazelle story begins way back when I fell in love with running, the early '90's to be exact.  Originally, I never saw myself as "a runner" or really "an athlete". I wasn't tall enough or the right body type I told myself.  But something changed when I went to college. I had been fairly active in high school and that was all coming to an end. A door was opened for me through running.  It helped me segue from high school sports, activities and riding horses into life away at MSU. My runs started as short breaks from homework or just to get fresh air.  They turned into longer, social runs after meeting fellow runners in grad school. I soon started running 5ks, challenged myself a 25k and then a marathon with these friends.

Over the past couple decades (am I that old really??) running gave me back my identity.  It gave me some sanity after marriage, a stressful career & motherhood became my new norm.  It was nice to have another facet to what was becoming a very full life. Typically my husband and I would take turns going for runs to give us each some "alone" time or we’d run together with a jogging stroller.  As the kids got older we were able to sneak in some "couple" time on our runs & even trained for some big races together.

Through the years my running ebbed & flowed with the normal changes life throws at you.  But it was always there. After moving back to West Michigan, I started to compete seriously with my horse.  Added to that were 2 big surgeries that acted as speed bumps slowing my running down. One of those surgeries was to repair a bunion.  As it would happen my horse became injured after I healed. That led me to fill the void with more running, naturally. I really doubted that I'd return to running as strong as I had run in the past but I was going to try.  Enter stage left into my life: Gazelle Sports!! With the help of their amazing staff, I was fit properly for shoes that kept my feet & subsequently me happy!

Here I am now a 44 year old wife & mother of two amazing busy teenagers. Running has been a constant in my life of change. Running helps me stay grounded.  It has given me avenues to volunteer. It helps me be a good role model for my children.  Running has brought me solace from pain. It has helped me gain confidence to leave a bad relationship.  It has taught me to be more disciplined in other aspects of my life. It has helped me stay in touch with the competitive side of myself.  It has brought me so much joy from not only the elusive PR's but it has given our family a reason to travel to some pretty cool places. Every group run or race is a chance to meet new friends & learn something about someone or myself.  Running brought me out of my shell & helped me become the person I am today.

I feel blessed to be chosen as a Gazelle Sports Activator.  I am hoping to share my passion & love for running in a way that makes everyone feel like they too can be "a runner".  Being an Activator will give me a chance to share that passion, meet & inspire other runners whether they are experienced or brand new to the active lifestyle that Gazelle Sports promotes.   #MovementMatters

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