Meet ACS Determination Runner Brittany Tempest
How did you get started in running, and what was your path to becoming a marathoner?
I first started running my senior year of high school, after my softball coach took me aside and said a new pitcher was coming to the school my senior year and I would likely ride the bench. I had a lot of friends who did cross country and track, and it seemed like the logical sport to get into as a senior, since it didn't require I learn a new, complicated set of rules. Cross country ended up being so amazing that I wished I'd done it all four years. The camaraderie and friendship I felt with my team (rather than the constant competitive vibe from the softball team) was just what I needed, and while I was the only senior on JV, I never felt excluded or looked down upon.
Sore knees and a "diagnosis" of a very much "off" Q-Angle led to me giving up running in college, as I felt my body wasn't built to run. Two years post-grad, when I moved to Chicago, I was invited to running events with new friends and slowly running became a huge part of my life again. I'd very much missed that friendship and support system the running community is known for. And coming back to running really felt like coming home. In 2016, I decided I would enter the (Bank of America) Chicago Marathon lottery. I ended up getting in but wasn't prepared mentally or physically, so I deferred to 2017. When I finished the marathon last year, I was hungry for more. I wondered how far I could get if I was more disciplined with my training, so I decided to run again in 2018, this time with American Cancer Society in memory of one of my younger brother's best friends.
Why did you join the ACS team?
I joined American Cancer Society's Team DetermiNation in memory of my little brother's close friend, Chase Harrison. Chase was a wonderful, thoughtful, talented kid who truly was the light of his group of friends. He passed away after a lengthy battle with Neuroblastoma. Chase had recently graduated high school where he was an athlete and a member of the wrestling team, and was rarely seen without a smile on his face. Chase's brother Skylar is still one of my brother's best friends, and his mother, Faye, is my brother's manager at his part-time job. They're an amazing, strong, kind-hearted family and I wanted to do something to honor Chase and keep his memory alive.
Unfortunately, almost all of us will be touched by cancer in some capacity in our lifetime; whether it's a friend, family member, or even our own battle. I am passionate about creating a world without cancer, without family members and friends gone too soon, and as ACS says, "a world with more birthdays." That is why I run for Team DetermiNation.
What words of advice, and or encouragement, would you give to other runners considering running for charity?
Initially, it might feel daunting to try to raise money for a charity, especially if you've never raised money before. Don't let that stop you. Raising money for a cause like ACS, or any of the other amazing Chicago charities, can be a fun, heartwarming and inspiring journey, fueled by love, care and creativity. I encourage you, if you're considering running for a charity, to go for it. Ask friends and family for donations, host fun events, make crafts to sell to raise money for your cause--the options are endless and it doesn't have to be a chore; it's a labor of love through and through. Find a cause you're passionate about, one that motivates you, and go for it!
What are you looking forward to with your group training experience?
This is my first year running in an official CARA training program, but CARA sponsored fun runs were some of the first events I attended in Chicago when I moved here that got me back into running! Without CARA and their events, I wouldn't be a marathoner with a strong support group of friends today. At the end of the day, I can attribute a lot of my success, not only as a runner but as a Chicagoan, to the support and little "push" back to running CARA provided me.
What would you say to runners who are trying to decide whether or not to join a group for training?
Training for a marathon or half marathon (or any race, really) can be daunting. It can be hard to stick to your plan, and it can sometimes be lonely. CARA's training groups help hold you accountable for your training while providing a group of teammates and friends, and a sense of community. Part of what I think makes running amazing is the runners around you. I was connected to most of my friends in Chicago thanks to running, and CARA is a great way to meet those friends while doing an activity you love!
Anything else you want to share?
My Fundraising page can be found at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/brittanytempest and you can follow along with my training this year on my blog britness.com/blog or my Instagram @brit.ness. I'm a CARA Ambassador for 2018, so if you see me at an event, please come say hi!