My name is Keira Henninger and I am the race director of Top notch Ultra-Marathons & Trail Races all across Southern California and I am also a competitive ultra-marathon runner ranking in the top 20 women in the United States. I strongly believe in the positive mental benefits of running, as it has played an important part in my own emotional healing through life.
I was raised in a house that backed onto a large open space reserve, with miles of trails, but it was also an extremely abusive household. Both physically and mentally it was never a peaceful place growing up. Given that the house was a scary place to be, myself and my siblings spent all day on weekends playing outside on the trails. I was a huge tomboy, and started running cross country in middle school. By the time I reached high school I had tried every sport I could get to, but it was always running that I was most talented at. I cannot imagine living and not running, and to me the sun is God's medicine. I love to play outside running on trails.
But it wasn’t just running that got me through the hard times, I quickly learned to mentally separate myself from the situation, and pray. Most would think that God was never answering my prayers by letting the abuse always happen, but I believe the total opposite: If it wasn’t for God I would have never made it out of my childhood alive; He was my saving grace as a child, and my strength and rock today; He answers every single prayer I ask of him. Do not ever be afraid to pray bold prayers, and have faith.I also became used to making responsible decisions from an early age. At 19 I had a baby, but I was determined to not let that shape the course of my life. We are the choices we make. It’s OK to make mistakes as they are learning tools, but it’s not OK to continually make the same mistakes. Learn from your bad days, and move on. Forgive, forget, and just move on. Hard work coupled with consistency and determination will only lead to success. I have overcome challenges and experiences that would give many people an excuse for failure. But in my case, they have only made me more straightforward. I am a fighter, and if one door closes I look for a better one to open.
I am big on integrity, and really meaning what you say to people. Do not say things you cannot back up, as it will only end up hurting you in the end. I also think it’s important to love the heck out of yourself. Be your own biggest fan: so many people destroy their own success by cutting themselves down everyday.
Leona Divide 50LLC