Hello everyone. I'm Mal.
Thrilled to share my running journey and to have you along for the ride.
27. Runner. Marathoner. Team For Kids member.
Native Kentuckian, now New Yorker.
Brooklynite to be specific.
Dog mom to Bruiser. Energetic spirit. Pisces. Vegan. Black coffee addict. Mizuno shoe hoarder.
Garmin watch enthusiast.
Believer that fall should be the only season.
Halloween is a serious holiday at my house.
Fighting for beer at every finish line.
I sort of have these crazy ideas, that I guess you could call Bucket List items:
Run The Big 6
I want to hear them say, "Mal Ward, you are an Iron Man."
Run a marathon in all 50 states
Run an Ultra-Marathon
Receive an invitation to participate in the Barkley Marathons
Be the first female finisher for the Barkley Marathons
Hike the Appalachian Trail
Running started for me as an extra curricular activity in high school. After joining the cross country and track team, I realized, to be quite frank, I was terrible. However, I enjoyed the friendships I made and the camaraderie of our team. After some disagreements with coaching staff, I left the team and stopped running altogether.
It wasn't until my junior year of college that I finally started running again.
I lost my Dad in college at the age of 20. It was a very unexpected passing that left me broken and in a dark place. Trying to finish out my senior year of college and wondering what next steps were ahead for myself, my mom, and my sisters, seemed unbearable.
But through the chaos, running brought me joy. It helped heal wounds that I never thought could come together. While running, anger met me at the occasion and pushed me to the fastest I had been in my entire life. During time alone, I found tears had a way to free themselves as they fell with no judgment. I found refuge in the sound of my shoes hitting the pavement and the feeling of my heart racing after the long hills. I felt accomplished. I felt strong. But most importantly I found myself again.
Over the next couple of years, I kept running and I had finally worked up the courage to sign up for my first marathon. In May of 2013, I ran the Flying Pig in honor and memory of my Dad. I knew he ran next to me that day. He carried me to meet my goal of finishing in under 4 hours and never once did I stop to walk. I could feel his proud smile and encouraging cheers through each mile.
When I think about what running did for me and what it could possibly do for someone else, especially a child dealing with life's curveballs, I can't help but want to do more. I had a wonderful opportunity to put these feelings into action by becoming a member of Team For Kids in 2015.
And here I am in my journey.. Still running and ready to tackle the next challenge and PR!