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A life-long athlete trains for Boston


Fri, Feb 12th, 2010
Posted in Health & Wellness

A resident of Fountain, Calla is an avid runner who is currently training to quality for the 2011 Boston Marathon. Photo provided by Matt and Calla Kevan

Training for a marathon is a challenging endeavor attempted by few. The 26.2 mile race requires a training schedule that can be difficult to accomplish, especially during a Minnesota winter. Combine that with the factors of a busy household, three young children, snow, and minimal daylight hours and most would not attempt such a challenge. But, for life-long athlete Calla Kevan of Fountain, it was just the motivation needed to start training again after the birth of her third child.

Calla is in her final week of training for the "Third Annual 26.2 with Donna - The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer" on February 21, in Jacksonville, Florida. "I like to sign up for a race and having that goal to train really motivates me to get each run done. It's also a good opportunity to travel! I have a cousin who lives in Jacksonville and works with Mayo Clinic and I saw it as a great opportunity to race, visit, and travel," she said. Many people are surprised by the fact that this isn't the first marathon that Calla has signed up for, "I had previously signed up to run two other marathons but was not able to do it because I was pregnant two times. I want to finally do a marathon and do many more!"

An athlete her entire life, Calla's athletic background began as a child participating in t-ball, soccer, softball and running. She began competing on the varsity level in track in 7th grade, cross country running in 8th grade, and Nordic (cross country) Skiing in 9th grade. "I have been on several state championship teams for those sports in high school," Calla commented. In college, Calla ran cross country and indoor/outdoor track, focusing primarily on the 5 kilometer run and 3,000 meter steeplechase, a demanding race that involves running, hurdles and water obstacles.

Calla's athletic endeavors have allowed her to travel overseas. She competed in the Deaflympics for Nordic Skiing in Switzerland, track in Italy and at the PanAm Games in Cuba. "It has been great to travel for competition, that's for sure. Most of my experiences have been with family coming along for international competitions. Cuba has to be my favorite, not many Americans get the chance to go to Cuba. And that is where I met my husband, Matt, who was also a member of the US Track Team," she remarked.

Calla selected Hal Higdon's marathon training program, an eighteen-week training program with a daily mile schedule. "There are many marathon training programs," explained Calla, "this has worked out great for me. My experience as a long distance runner has been a key part of my success. I am running to meet a time goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon in April of 2011."

Due to a busy household with three boys ages four, two and one, as well as fewer hours of light in the winter, Calla has completed almost all of her training on the treadmill at home. "It is difficult to have time to go outside to run. In the afternoons when Matt gets home, it's already dark during the winter. When I only have to run between four and ten miles, I am able to fit it in during my youngest son's morning nap while the older boys play in the basement where I can see them while I run." If Calla has a run over ten miles scheduled, she waits for Matt to come home from work, and other long runs are accomplished on the weekends when he can be with the boys. Calla's longest training run was 23 miles and also completed two 20 mile-runs.

An athlete himself, Matt has been wonderful in giving Calla time to train and is very encouraging. He also competed in sports in high school, college, PanAm Games, and Deaflympics. Additionally, this will be his third year coaching high jumpers and hurdlers for Lanesboro/Fillmore Central. "Matt tries to run road races when he has time," Calla continued. "It is nice to be married to another runner/athlete who knows what it takes and has experienced competition. I couldn't have done much of my training without Matt being there to be with the boys!"

Matt is happy to help Calla achieve her goals. "Calla has trained really hard for this race. It seems like she is running at a high level as she once did in college. I wish I could be in Florida to support her, but I know she will have family and friends there to cheer her on. I'm looking forward to being 'Mr. Mom' with the boys while Calla is in Florida. I feel optimistic that Calla will qualify for the Boston Marathon, so I can get an opportunity to travel with her too!" Boston qualifying time for her age group is an impressive 3:40:59.

If others are looking to train for a marathon, Calla advises them to find a training program that works for the individual. "If you are not properly trained, you could risk injury and the next few days after a marathon would be uncomfortable! Marathon training is basically to help you get through the marathon and help your body recover quicker."

Calla leaves for the marathon on Friday, the 19th, and will run on Sunday, February 21. "The race takes place primarily on the roads along Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach. There is a 2.5 mile stretch right on the beach which should be beautiful and a nice distraction." According to www.breastcancermarathon.com, 100 percent of the proceeds go to breast cancer research and care, much of it going to Mayo Clinic. "This will be my first time away from my boys in almost five years. I'm looking forward to running my first marathon and having some time for myself, but I know I will be longing to be with my family!"

The Kevan family has lived in Fountain for a year and half, moving from Rochester. Matt previously commuted for three years to the schools in southeastern Minnesota where he works. "We wanted to live in a smaller community for our boys to attend a smaller school." In addition to running, she has also done numerous half marathons, relay races, and road races which is Calla's "me time." She also enjoys scrapbooking, photography and anything kid related!

Finding time to train for a marathon and overcoming obstacles to do so can be challenging. Adding fun incentives, having a fantastic support system and a strong desire can help those wanting to compete and complete such a task, whether it is a 5K race or a 26.2 mile marathon. Calla Kevan is an outstanding example of how those factors can work together to accomplish such a challenging goal!

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