Pain and exhaustion didn’t stop one Chilliwack woman from completing her 100-kilometre ‘birthday marathon’ on Thursday.
“It was really hard, but now that it’s over I’m glad I did it,” said 23-year-old Kalyn Head. “During [the run] I wanted to quit. It was harder than I thought it would be.”
Head’s birthday marathon was a GoFundMe fundraiser for Chilliwack Community Services.
Having started the run at midnight on July 23 (her birthday) she didn’t get a wink of sleep beforehand.
“It was tough right off the bat because I was tired, but my body didn’t start to hurt until around 80 kilometres,” Head recalled, adding that she was about nine hours into the run at that time.
That’s when she noticed her toes were quite blistered.
The blistering happened on her feet and underneath her toenails. It was so bad that she lost six nails.
“While I was running they fell off.”
But she powered through.
She stopped, took her shoes off and tried unsuccessfully to run in her sandals. After that failed, she ran and walked in her socks for the last 20 kilometres.
At that point, not only was it a physical battle for her, but also a huge mental one.
But she had support to get her through it. Head was never alone during the entire run as friends and family members joined her for portions of the run. She had countless messages of support and people donated online throughout the marathon.
“Different people showed up at different times. I think the fresh faces and motivation really helped.”
Near the end, one of the biggest hurdles for her was to keep going. She had family members on bikes riding along with her and she wanted to stop running and get on a bike to finish the last few kilometres.
She figured she wouldn’t feel great at the end if she didn’t run or walk the whole way, she said. And so she was able to convince herself that she didn’t need a bike.
“For a while I was sure I wasn’t going to be able to finish,” she said.
But she did.
She stepped right through the finish line that her mom made out of painter’s tape and balloons.
Head was in tears as she crossed that line and so were her friends and family.
It took her 13 hours and 45 minutes.
She did not sit down or take once break during that time.
“When I finally sat down it was a lot of relief. Those last couple kilometres seemed to go on forever.”
On Saturday, two days after her champagne birthday marathon, she was understandably quite sore and was also limping.
“I was really proud of myself. It took a lot of work and time and training.”
As of July 25, Head raised more than $5,300 for Chilliwack Community Services. Her goal was $500.
She’s left the GoFundMe account open and people can still donate to the cause at gofundme.com/f/kalyns-birthday-marathon.
After all the blisters, tears and exhaustion, will she do it again?
“I think I might,” she said.