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Kimberly Lauth, 48, Knoxville
– Never doubt that your healthy lifestyle has an effect on others. Kim has many friends who are runners and a boss who is a tri-athlete. She’s caught the fever and wants to join them in a healthier, more active lifestyle. She feels making healthy changes is especially important as she come closer to the “big 5-0.”
When Kim was growing up Kim says she wasn't athletic, but the term “active” would have fit just fine. She took dance class, twirled baton, and even took part in musical theater during high school. But if given the choice, Kim would always choose reading a book over playing sports.
“I was a Girl Scout in Illinois, and the biggest memory for me was winning the ‘stare-down’ contest at Girl Scout camp,” Kim recalls. “I was so proud of myself. For a girl who never got a sports trophy, being the camp Stare-Down Champion was a really big deal."
While adults have plenty of opportunities to play sports, there aren’t as many opportunities to dance and twirl batons once you graduate from high school. Kim did a pretty good job of keeping her weight under control for a time, but the last 12 years have been a struggle.
“Between raising a family and growing my career, I have had consistent struggles with my weight,” Kim confesses. “I haven’t been at my goal weight in over 10 years.”
At her heaviest, Kim weighed about 20 pounds more than she did when joining the marathon team. But at one point, she did weigh 30 pounds less. “It is really easy to feel complacent about where you are as you approach the big 5-0,” Kim says. “I hope to show that you can be healthier and more fit regardless of age. Being a grandma is not an excuse for giving up.”
Kim has invested her career in trying to help and inspire others, having worked in the not-for- profit sector for most of her adult life. It started when she was an ad executive for a newspaper. She volunteered to work for a hospice program, which eventually led to working with non-profits. She’s worked for the Girl Scouts for three years, currently serving as COO for the Girl Scout Council of Southern Appalachians. “I love my job,” she says. “It’s really challenging and rewarding. Last year our council served almost 15,000 girls and 5000 adult volunteers in 46 counties in Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.”
The Girl Scouts are a big influence on Kim, inspiring her by the amazing things they accomplish in the community. She says when she watches those young achievers, she can’t help but hold herself to a higher standard. However, she wants to be an influence on them as she participates in the Biggest Winner program. “I care a lot about girls and young women and the unrealistic media images that affect how they feel about themselves and their bodies. It is important to me to set an example for healthy living,” Kim says.
“Girl Scouts teaches girls that they can discover what they want and what their values are, connect with their community resources and take action to effect real change,” Kim explains. “This is the same model the marathon team is using to achieve our goals.”
With the support of a supervisor who is a tri-athlete, enthusiastic co-workers, and Kent Lauth (her husband of 23 years), she’s confident she can reinvent herself between now and race day. She’s also getting some special encouragement from her adult children and her parents.
“I visit with my dad every morning and we talk a lot about my training and what I am doing.”
Life throws us all curve balls and we can get caught up in the daily grind. My message is, as long as you are breathing you can change. I may not ever be an elite athlete – but I can be a better version of me.