From Escanaba to Kalamazoo Runner: Heather Wellman's Story0
Kalamazoo Area Runners (KAR) continues to impact our community and its great reputation for being a community filled with runners through the programs it offers to encourage those just starting to run as well as those fine-tuning their skills.
Heather Wellman, a member of KAR, decided to take her first run in 2013 and hasn't looked back. She'll tackle her first half-marathon this weekend in the fifth annual Kalamazoo Marathon.
Never considering herself a runner, Wellman quickly learned she had a competitive spirit and has been preparing for the race through the KAR's Beyond Training Program.
"I never would have realized how large of a running community Kalamazoo is without being a member of KAR," said Wellman.
Originally from Escanaba, Wellman decided to move to Kalamazoo to pursue her bachelor degree and later received her MBA from Western Michigan University (WMU). Today Heather is an Assistant Branch Manager at PNC Bank and, like many others who have attended college in our town, she decided to stay.
"I've been here about eight years and it's a much bigger city than my home town of Escanaba which I enjoy," said Wellman.
She went on to share that she decided to stay because of her fiance, the great friends that she's made, and her career.
"It's become home!" she said.
Like many newcomers to the group Wellman has enjoyed learning from KAR's many experienced runners and taking part in programs including Fast Track and Beyond.
"I haven't met another runner who wasn't willing to help or answer a 'newbie' question," said Wellman. "KAR keeps me motivated and engaged with running and I love the diversity of the training programs."
Wellman shared that volunteering or participating in a race makes her feel part of the community. In 2014 she served as a committee member for KAR's Jack-O-Lantern 5k & 10k Trail Run and Turkey Trot 5k Time Prediction Run, and continues to actively participate in the organization.
She also has done some volunteering by doing short-term dog fostering through the SPCA of Southwest Michigan, which she describes as being very rewarding when the animals are adopted.
Kalamazoo has been good choice for both Wellman and her fianc who both enjoy being close to the parks and bike paths.
"I enjoy the parks and recreation that Kalamazoo has to offer. I love being outdoors! I love the restaurants, events downtown, and my involvement with organizations including KAR, the SPCA, and the Kalamazoo Human Resources Management Association.
"There's always something to do or a good place to eat," said Wellman.
When not at work, running, or volunteering, you might see Wellman about town.
"I love Kalamazoo's downtown area, and seeing people out and about walking around," said Wellman.
"I think Kalamazoo has great potential to keep growing, especially with WMU in the area, and the new medical school. Aside from Michigan winters, I love the seasons here!"