My Story... Why I Run!

Hi, my name is Chelsea, I am 23 years old, and I wanted to share my story.

I began running to overcome challenges many people thought couldn't be overcome. I have had heart problems since high school. On top of that, within the last 4 years I have had two lung surgeries. I have torn my Achilles tendon twice and have fractured both sides of my hip at different times. While training for my second back to the beach race, I was attacked by a pitbull and tore the labrum in my hip and my thighs were shredded and bruised but I continued training and still finished the race. I guess you could say I used to I run because I was stubborn and wanted to keep going even when everyone told me to quit.

Flash forward to the present and I am now a pediatric nurse and work in a high intensity emergency room. These kids show me that nothing should hold you back from reaching your goals and living life to the fullest. I have run this race 3 times and have enjoyed every second of it. My patients inspire me way more than I ever could've imagined. Some of my kids have been recipients of a Medals For Mettle award and they deserve it more than I can describe. My patients love hearing about training and the different aspects of running a race and say that they want to run one someday too.

Now I run to make those kids proud, and to hopefully inspire them in the same way they inspire me. The challenges I faced do not define patients have taught me that. They have taught me that your dreams are bigger than any obstacle life throws at you.

Thank you for your time. This message isn't intended to brag or boast about me or my is to give credit to the amazing children that have changed my life in ways I never imagined.


The Back to the Beach Half Marathon is one of the premier races that I have ever been involved with.    I look forward to it each year and have run it since the race’s inception some years ago.   Although I’ve run marathons like the Freep, Back to the Beach offers some really cool race features.   It’s the challenge that is fun and the adventure of the multiple trail surfaces – anything from blacktop to mountain bike trail to planked walkways to dirt roads to forested and grassy areas. 

The race is fun rain or shine.  There are always lots of laughs and giggles entering the mountain bike trails when the race follows a week of heavy rain.  While most might be annoyed by puddles, many of us runners look at it as a fun challenge even if we get a little muddy. Of course dry shoes are always optimal, but sharing some semi-muddy trails is an experience that is yet another challenge shared by all the participants.

Also, I think all the runners can appreciate the area known as the “8 mile hollar” or Mt Sheldon perhaps ?   This is the monster hill that is in the mountain bike trails of the West Branch area.  The first time I ran the race, the hill was unexpected and humbling for sure due to it’s location and energy drain potential on the 13.1 mile course.   In years after that , I dedicated myself to conquering that hill and I’m getting there with practice.   Sometimes I’ll practice in that area running loops up the hill over and over and it works well.  One thing that helps are the volunteers cheering all the runners on as we go up the hill too. Thank you for your efforts !

Speaking of volunteers, they are the reason the race is possible along with the race organizers.  All the runners appreciate everything from the positive support, to the course marshals, to those handing out water towels (ps- THANK YOU for those !!!)  to the great food and drink after the race.  It’s nice to see such a great event, well organized, with a positive spirit that raises money for a good cause.

Keep up the great work and look forward to the race this year !


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