K. Rae’Lynn Walton

Why did you chose to participate in SHE RUNS Grand Rapids?

I participate in SHE RUNS-Grand Rapids, because it is a powerful reminder of what’s possible. I participate in SHE RUNS to encourage my daughters to be fearless. I participate in SHE RUNS to empower other black women to prioritize their health and wellbeing. SHE RUNS weekend is such an exciting time! The sense of community, runner support and resources is unmatched.

What is your impact story? 

Last year, I saw a social media post, advertising SHE RUNS registration and thought to myself, “Hey…I want to try that.” I didn’t have any prior running experience. I hadn’t had any formal run training. I wouldn’t be considered your “average runner”, but I knew I wanted to be involved in THIS event. So, I signed up, a little under a month before race day. In 2022, I pushed myself to take more risk, seek out more adventures and to find joy wherever possible. That intrinsic motivation, that unrelenting push, came from grief. Lots and lots of grief. Like a lot of us, the past few years had been a rollercoaster ride of emotions and experiences. One thing that supported me in those moments was body movement and walking. Learning to navigate life in this “new” way was tough. Engaging in some form of physical activity helped to keep me grounded in those moments. For a while, it helped, until those tough moments seemed unbearable. Over the past few years, I found myself grieving the loss of some of my favorite people in the world. I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t know how to process how I felt. I did know that if I could remind myself to just keep moving, then just maybe, grief wouldn’t feel so heavy. So in 2022, I decided to run. I run because some of the people I loved the most, were no longer alive to run or walk or move for themselves…or with me. Im so grateful for the SHE RUNS experience, because it connected me to a community of organizations, that continue to support my “WHY.” After registration, I partnered with the Sole Sisters community for race day preparation and guidance. I was so grateful to have had that layer of support leading up to race day. I remember the organization volunteering at the first water station on the course, was “Still I (;) Run-Runners for Mental Health.” Im still amazed at how strategic their placement was, on the run course. Those cheers and affirmations really pushed me through my 5k. “Still I Run” continues to be a huge support on my runner’s journey. So for me, SHE RUNS is more than just a race. Its a reminder for me to be present. Its an opportunity to live boldly. Its a chance to build and create community. Its a space for me to grow and thrive…even as I grieve.