It took six straight years of top-three placements, but in 2017, Kerry Lee finally finished first in the Flying Pig Marathon (which returns in October). And the Anderson High School math teacher hasn’t slowed down, passing along her love of the sport to the next generation by coaching the school’s cross-country team.
When did you first catch the running bug?
I started running when I was 13. I started because of my dad, who was always a runner [even] before I was born. And then it was something we did together. I grew up watching him run and the lifestyle he had because of it.
What was your toughest running moment?
I tore 85 percent of both of my hamstrings from the bone at the same time I found out I had breast cancer. I faced three surgeries and treatments in a short amount of time. It was scary and painful. I carried the initials of the people I needed to help me get through it to every surgery and treatment. It’s no coincidence that all seven of those people happen to be runners.
Why do you run?
Running has gotten me through many phases of my life. It helped me figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. It led me to my job. It was something I did to challenge myself and humble myself. I ran when I felt happy, sad, angry, hopeful, hopeless. Almost every single time I finished I felt better than when I started.
What three tips would you give new runners?
One, consistency. Showing up every day is key. Make a commitment and find a running/walking partner to hold you accountable. Two, write down multiple goals. Make the first one pretty easy and the last one something out of your comfort zone. Three, spend money on a good pair of shoes and gear. Having the right pair of shoes is an especially easy way to help prevent injury.