Kristen Zaitz

Kristen’s running career has not always been smooth. But she’s never let the hurdles keep off the trails.

Kristen’s Story:

I studied sports organization with a minor in coaching at Miami University in Oxford, OH. My freshman year in college I never dreamed I’d be leading a cross country race, but I was. I took a wrong turn and seven girls followed me. By the time we were told we needed to get back on the course about a few other girls were now in front of me. Taking the turn back onto the course I skidded on gravel and ended up on the ground with girls running over me, spiking me.  I ended up seventh and devastated.  I was crying, now I look back and laugh at it. It was a big deal then. I’ve always struggled with directions, still do, so I make sure to study courses in advance.I started when I went for a run at Young Life Camp with a buddy, Rick Bruhn, who was running at his high school.  This was the summer before my sophomore year. That run got me hooked!

I’ve overcome injury after injury throughout my career, this has made me tougher and given me a “never give up” attitude. This attitude carries over to other hurdles in life, not just running. All my challenges and not giving up led me to run a personal best in the marathon in December of 2014 of 2:32:48, qualifying me for my 3rd Olympic Marathon Trials (2016 is the first O.T. where I have the “A” standard). Every challenge I’ve had from my rocky college career, to breaking my foot in a 2012 marathon, has helped to create a better stronger version of myself!

I think all the injuries I’ve overcome make me relatable.  My journey hasn’t been easy but it’s been mine and I have used each setback to propel me further and make me better. Polar Bottle users who go through injury, heartbreak, or obstacles can hopefully be inspired to never give up as well. Everyone goes through hardship so hopefully mine can make them feel less alone.

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