Kristen Marklin

Kristen Marklin

Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m 25, born and raised in STL, and love to be involved. I have an awesome job in downtown STL at HOK as an interior designer where I get to create, collaborate and share ideas every day. I am one of 10 kids and my family is all over the country, making for much travel and adventure  I have always loved running, usually finding myself being the cheerleader and leader of the pack. I chose to start running when I was 12 years old when I was going through a very rough time, and I have personally seen how running has helped me grow into the person I am today. My love for running is a two-fold: I absolutely love the idea that you can always improve your personal best, and secondly, running in a team atmosphere is an energy like no other. After my high school and college teams, I moved onto running longer distances – my latest two accomplishments being the Napa Valley Marathon in 2013 and Boston in 2014. Having a goal in front of me is what keeps me going, and I am always looking for more ways to stay with it. I am currently slated to run a 200 mile team relay race later this fall. Outside of my running, you can find me laying in a park with a good book, exploring a new city, cycling around STL, going to new coffee shops, nerding out on craft beer, or more recently, renovating a 120 year old house in Tower Grove with my boyfriend.

Why did you choose to volunteer/get involved with GOTR-STL?
I have been looking for a way to get more involved in the STL community, and jump into something different to meet new people. I missed having a community of good people to not only run with, but to share stories and lessons with. I had heard from several people that GOTR was a great organization, and when I read more about it online – it seemed like a perfect fit. I not only want to give back to these girls, but I want to learn just as much from them.

What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run?
I think giving people an opportunity to work towards a specific goal in mind, surrounded with the support and encouragement you need, is something so awesome and sometimes rarely seen. GOTR provides that environment for these girls, building pride and confidence in themselves and others. It is very rewarding to see them cheering their friends on, knowing that struggle and not only relate, but support each other.

How has GOTR-STL impacted your life?
I have only volunteered at a few events this year so far, but I am thrilled with the energy around me every time. It’s such a positive environment to be a part of, which I believe is rooted in the good cause behind the effort. I am personally so excited to get more involved and eager to see what I can learn.

Favorite memory?
My favorite memory by far, was during the last 5K race. I was volunteering to be one of the course marshals at a street intersection a bit away from the start line. It was really early in the morning, and as I was walking up Chestnut St, I looked up and saw girls and their parents coming out from every direction headed to the starting line. The look on their faces was priceless. I immediately remembered back to when I was a kid and the pressure I felt on the morning of my first race. One little girl passed me and looked me in the eye, and I was overcome with emotion; thinking of her and all these other girls getting up early, heading to the big moment, with their friends, supporters, parents…all there to see them accomplish something amazing. I remember wiping a tear away from my face and knowing
this organization is something special.

Why would you recommend others get involved with Girls on the Run?
Like I mentioned before, the positive environment is contagious and everyone I have met in the organization has been so welcoming and fun. It has been easy to jump in and get involved, and most importantly… it’s for a great cause!

What are your hopes for the future of Girls on the Run as an organization?
It would be awesome if it became more widely recognized and prominent in our STL community. I think that there are opportunities to work and collaborate with other STL events and organizations, in order to stay connected in the city, especially at this time where so much change is prevalent.