Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Kourtney Turner never considered herself a runner, but completing the Los Angeles Marathon four times has led to a shift in perception. Included in that was twice running the 26-mile trek in four months, a daunting physical challenge for even the most experienced marathoners.
“When I first started running for the foundation, I always corrected people when they called me a runner because I didn’t feel fast enough to justify that label,” Turner told DodgerBlue.com.
“I always thought of runners as the elite athletes that finished the marathon in half the time as everybody else. But I think after my fourth marathon I should stop correcting them.
“There are so many marathon runners of all backgrounds with different motivators, abilities and paces. I have learned that a marathon is a huge accomplishment in itself, regardless of finishing time. The running community is absolutely incredible and sometimes those ‘back of the pack’ runners prove to be the most inspirational.”
While Turner had prior experience in running the L.A. Marathon, doing so on such a quick turnaround presented a new hurdle. “I took about a month off and then jumped right back into where the schedule was at for a traditional training plan,” she explained.
“My body was still somewhat built up from last year’s race but it was definitely more challenging. My body did not feel as rested as it has in the past so I just accepted the fact that it was going to be painful.
“It was such a relief crossing the finish line and knowing I have another year to prepare for the next one.”
Another adjustment was not seeing Justin Turner along the path, because he was in the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup on the day of the marathon. Justin historically has served as the race starter at Dodger Stadium and moved along the route to cheer on Kourtney and other runners.
However, because of the MLB lockout creating a shortened Spring Training period, the couple decided it was best for him to remain at Camelback Ranch.
“It was so different for me because I am used to having him along the route as little motivation points,” Kourtney acknowledged. “I know a lot of fans missed seeing him kick off the race and cheering on runners and taking selfies along the course too. I had a few friends along the route that posted up to cheer.
“My friend Kate who works at the Dream Center was at mile 6 at Sunset and Alvarado. My friend Mike was in Hollywood near the Pantages Theater, and my other friend Matt was right at the turn into West Hollywood.
“The spectator turnout was incredible this year. The course in November seemed a little empty but it was rocking this time. I didn’t have anyone towards the end of the route and that is when you really start to fade, so I had to pretend that everyone was there to cheer for me and imagine that all the signs had my name on them.”
Along with serving as a Los Angeles Marathon ambassador, Kourtney has used the event to raise funds to benefit initiatives carried out by the Justin Turner Foundation, of which she is the vice president for. To Justin, Kourtney is very much the driving force behind the couple’s charitable efforts.
“She is a freaking rockstar,” he said. “I don’t know how she does everything she does, but I would not be able to do this without here.”
Both through contributions made directly in support of Kourtney and members who joined the Justin Turner Foundation team for the marathon, more than $40,000 was raised. “In our five years as an official charity of the L.A. Marathon we have raised over $200,000,” Kourtney said.
“It has been so incredible to have people reach out to us and ask how they can join the team. We have more runners every single year that want to join us for a good cause. I love reading the emails from our team members where they share their motivation and reasons for wanting to run.”
Kourtney Turner’s personal milestone
Despite the compressed period to recover, Kourtney set a personal record at the 2022 L.A. Marathon.
“It was that much more emotional to cross the finish line given the short turnaround time,” she said. “I knew it was going to be a challenge when I signed up but as the miles went on I definitely felt some extra fatigue.
“The last mile down Santa Monica seemingly goes on forever but when I finally turned that corner onto Avenue of the Stars, I was overwhelmed with joy. Mostly because I accomplished my goal of a PR on short rest and partially because I won’t have to run another marathon for a year.
“I have been spoiled the last three years to have Justin every couple miles along the route and waiting at the finish line. It always made the miles go by a little faster to just focus on getting to his next location. I had to dig deep and think of my reason for running to stay motivated and not let my mind wander and create any doubt.
“I was grateful to have friends waiting for me at the finish line. All of the L.A. Marathon ambassadors met up after the race to celebrate and congratulate one another. Justin was tracking me the entire race and FaceTimed me immediately after I finished.
“It was so nice to be able to see him and show him my medals before he took the field for the game.”
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