MRC Runner Spotlight: Cassie K.

Cassie is a warm welcoming face in the Maui running community.  Whether supporting her sons, her high school athletes or racing for her own sense of accomplishment, she does so with a smile on her face and encouraging words to share.  Read more about Cassie’s motivation to run and how running has played a role in her life below.  Mahalo Cassie and we love having you as a part of our running ohana!

Why do you run? What’s your motivation to run?

Simply put, running is my personal go-to stress reliever.

My athletes also motivate me.  I coach Kihei Charter High School cross country and track.  I love running easy and chatting with my athletes, or suffering together during hard workouts.  I enjoy getting to know each of the students, and am continually amazed at how wonderful they are.  There is something about running that breaks down barriers and builds connections. I know I would not have these connections without running.

Finally, my boys both run.  We’ve had some wonderful memories racing and just running around the neighborhood.

The Running Kepler Family

When did you start running? How long have you been running?

I began running when I was 16 because I knew I needed to exercise.  I worked in the evenings so my schedule didn’t allow for high school athleteics.

By the time I was in college, running was a regular part of my life.  It wasn’t until age 22, when I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal basilar artery dissection, though, that I decided I needed running to live.  The night of the diagnosis, as I lay in the hospital, I vowed to run a marathon.  Eighteen months later, I ran my first marathon in Honolulu.

What’s your biggest running challenge?

I’ve always gravitated toward doing things at which I excel.  I’ve never been a gifted runner, so for a long time, I avoided both hard workouts and competitions.  The challenge for me has been to embrace the beauty of running for running’s sake and not for times, places, or other external motivators.  One of my favorite quotes says, “Use what talents you possess; The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best” (Henry Van Dyke).  The same sentiment is true of races. How much fun would a marathon be if only the elites raced?

I am much better than I used to be about enjoying running simply for the hard work, discipline, and friendship that comes out of it, but every now and then, I am still hard on myself when I feel I should be running better.

What’s been your biggest running accomplishment (so far!)?

Spreading the love of running with my high school athletes.  I love watching them gain self-confidence as they face their fears and do tough workouts.  I appreciate how the discipline they gain from the sport manifests itself into their academics and overall work ethic.  I am especially tickled when running becomes a permanent part of their lives.

Goal for the coming year?

Cross-train and strength-train more to improve my running.

Run to the Sun 2007

A few of my favorite things…

Type of run: Long runs with friends

Place to run: Haleakalā

Race I’ve run: The Run to the Sun

Piece of running gear: My RoadID, especially when I’m out of town or running in the pre-dawn hours

Thing to do when I’m not running: Hiking, coaching, and enjoying the great outdoors