When I started running in high school, the physical benefits were the last thing on my mind.

My parents were forcing me to participate in a sport, and I didn’t know anywhere else where I would be able to see boys running without their shirts every day. Plus my neighbors ran, so it gave me a ride home other than the big yellow bus 🙂 I quickly learned that, while the boys did run with their shirts off, and I was getting physically more fit, running was about so much more than that.

I had a little bit of clarity in my life – I was more focused in school, I slept better at night, and I had a strong peace of mind throughout the day. Most importantly, I also found some of my best friends once I joined the team. Not those casual friends that you talk with at practice and forget about when you leave, but those friends that you can call crying at 2 am, or that you can show up unannounced on a Friday afternoon. These are people who challenge me, inspire me, and help me stick to my goals. My teammates and their families became an extension of my own family- they are the first ones I call when I succeed, and the ones who are there to pick me up when I fall.

When I continued running through college, I experienced the same external benefits from running. After college, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere where I would be able to find those types of friendships. And while I still had my college and high school friends, they have all scattered around the country to live their own lives. I felt stuck being back so close to my hometown, and I was not sure what I was going to do to find new friends, or how to get my life back in order. I tried running on my own, but I could never really get it to stick. Work would get in the way, or I would get sad and stop. Plus, it was difficult to challenge myself to continue to get better, when I had fallen so far behind in my training.

That is where LAUGH came into my life. I realized that many of those same crucial parts of my life didn’t have to disappear – I just needed to go back to the beginning. When I first started to find order and clarity in my life, it was as part of a team. When I joined LAUGH, I realized it was another team, for the new stage of life I was in. I had something to look forward to, blossoming friendships, and a newfound sense of confidence – all were sorely lacking at the time. So now I post the question, what about you? What non-physical benefits have you gained from being part of LAUGH?


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Katie Broekema
Katie has been a gift given to us by God. She is a regular rock star in our minds. Katie is a cross country coach for a local college and a former race coordinator for a local sports store. Her knowledge and wisdom of “all things running and event planning” is irreplaceable for our LAUGH board. She is our go to gal for our LAUGH training tips and plays a pivotal role in the training aspect of LAUGH. Katie has a funny, quiet spirit that shows itself through facial expressions and short one liners. She is always willing to give something a try and being the youngest of our board, we are quick to put this willingness to work. From stretching demonstrations to talks on chaffing, she is always up for the task. Katie is an avid runner and health activist. She serves as LAUGH’s Training Liaison. She is often found taking her adorable pup Koko out for an activity or cozying up in one of her beautiful knit blankets.


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