Outrun the Dark is a brand representing a community of runners who outrun their inner demons. We call them Outrunners. Either for themselves or others, an Outrunner is someone who runs to stay ahead of the darkness, and in the process inspire those around them.
In a series of interviews, you will get to know some of the Outrunners in our community, what drives them, what their struggles are and what has helped them get past them.
Today we had the chance to interview Washington resident Kirsten Shelton of our Facebook community group, Kirsten likes to spend time with friends when not running or at work, and is currently training for the Defiance 15k trail run this Satuday!
Hi! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, where you are from and what you do?
Hello there! My name is Kirsten Shelton and I live in Southwest Washington State. I have been married for 15 years to my best friend. No kids, but I have two cats and a dog. I am a substance use disorder clinician for adolescents, and I love what I do!
What are you passionate about outside of running and your day job?
That’s a tough question, because I am passionate about both running and my day job! But when I’m not busy at either of those, I’m passionate about helping encourage those around me become the best versions of themselves. So pretty much, I like spending time with others, whether it’s a deep conversation or just hanging out and eating. I am active in my church and seek to continually grow in my relationship and faith in God.
When and how did you start running?
I have run off and on most of my life for various reasons. However, I did not begin to seriously start running and make it a lifestyle until 10 years ago. It all started when a friend of mine thought we should sign up for a 5k since neither of us had ever done one. I realized I liked having a goal to aim for and loved the race atmosphere. I was hooked!
What does Outrun the Dark mean to you?
“Outrun the Dark” means to me, being able to use running and being active as a healthy outlet to help maintain mental health. I struggle from time to time with depressive symptoms and honestly, life itself can be heavy and dark. It is rewarding to be able to push past my comfort zone when all I want to do is isolate and do the opposite.
What is your favorite part about the Outrun the dark community?
The Outrun the Dark Community is amazing! I love how encouraging everyone is to one another. It feels like a safe space where I can share my small victories as well as the struggles to keep going.
What has been the most trying part of your life up until now? What helped you get through it?
I feel I am currently going through the most trying part of my life. My husband has some pretty serious health problems in the past 2 years, which are too complicated to list here, but largely has to do with diabetic complications. I almost lost him a few weeks ago. There are several things that have helped me get through or stay out of the dark during this period. Supportive friends, my faith in God, running, and therapy.
What do you know today that you wish your 20 year old self knew?
I wish my 20 year old self would have taken herself less seriously and understood that life is a journey and not something that you just “arrive” at. It’s ok to not have everything figured out.
What helps you go for a run when you don’t feel like it?
When I don’t feel like running, reading people’s stories on Outrun the Dark helps. Or my husband encourages me to go.
What is your alternative workout when you can't run because of injury or circumstance?
Strength training. Walking if possible.
What book or movie have most impacted your life and why?
The Bible. There is so much wisdom and encouragement in there! Honestly, it’s gotten me through some dark times.
If you could put anything on a billboard in front of the world to see, what would you put on it?
Anything else you want to add before we wrap up?
I am so happy to have found this group! You all are amazing and am happy to find some people who “get” the need for running!
Thank you Kirsten for sharing a little bit about yourself, and good luck with the Defiance 15k race this Saturday! We in the community here will be cheering you along!