Q&A with Ultra Runner Karen Gelmis

Karen Gelmis
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New Balance and RootsRated have teamed up to profile runners making a difference in their communities. We asked each of our runners a series of questions to learn a little more about what running means to them, where they like to run and what are some of their running goals.

Karen Gelmis is an experienced runner who is glad to share in the run of running no matter where she is. Her ability to mobilize and energize a community is impressive! Learn a little more about Karen by reading her Q&A here at RootsRated.com.

Do you belong to any running groups? Formal or informal?
When we moved from Houston to Huntsville we started Let’s Run Huntsville. It’s not a formal running club but a forum where people can post about running or find people to run with. It’s taken off and we just crossed 4,000 followers on Facebook.

Favorite trails?
Coming from Houston where there isn’t any trail running, the ones here in Huntsville are amazing. But my favorite trails are in Chattanooga. They are breathtakingly beautiful. On the trail they use for Stumpjump, about half way, you are on a high cliff overlooking the Tennessee River that’s just gorgeous.

Morning runner or after work?
Absolutely morning. I’m up at 4:30 and running at 5am with our group. Every day. On the other hand, we’re all in bed by 9pm.

Favorite pieces of gear?
I have to say my favorite piece of gear is my hat. It keeps the sun and hair out of my face. I’ve had it for a long time. I wear it almost every run.

What's your routine? Describe. Coffee first? Out the door fast or slow transition?
Getting up so early, I put my clothes out the night before. I have a 15-minute drive to where we run and always start with coffee.

Do you listen to music?
As a solitary runner, I used to listen to music. Now, running with our group, I like to listen my friend’s talk.

Favorite post race approach to recovery?
Go home, take a shower and take a nap.

Bucket list races?
There’s always a list of races that we are talking about. There are some really cool trail runs in California and Oregon that we’d like to try.

There’s a local grand slam. A series of four races including Dizzy Fifties Trail Ultra, Rocket City Marathon, Recover from the Holidays 50k and the Mountain Mist 50k. The first is held in mid-November and the last in mid-January.

I’ve done the first three before but never the last. The series ends with the Mountain Mist 50k. That’s a premier trail race here. I haven’t done it before and the event has always been on my list. There’s a jacket involved [at the finish] so I’ve registered for all four this year. I hope my body holds together.

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