DES MOINES, Iowa –Training for a marathon is a challenge, but it isn't the only one for a metro runner. The Iowan is about to join 50,0000 runners in one of the country's biggest races. While she doesn't have a time to beat, she does have a big goal.
It's hard to beat the view from Gray's Lake. "Having all the changing colors, cute dogs. It helps keep me going," said Kelley Girardin.
She knows the park well. "It was really great until I did a 16 mile run in the rain. That's like 8 loops around here."
She started training for a marathon in March. "I've been trying to be good about it week to week. It requires 3 to 5 runs a week," she said.
This weekend, she'll trade in the Des Moines skyline for a much bigger one. She said, "On Sunday, I'll be running the New York City Marathon."
This is her first marathon. And while the 26.2 miles will be a big challenge, it isn't her only one. "On top of training for a marathon, also asking people for donations,” she said.
She's running on behalf of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "I've got a lot of military that runs deep in my family. Both of my grandpas, my dad, my fiancé have all served."
Her goal is to raise $3,000. She's almost there. Money goes to research. "Mental health is a huge focus right now. Actually, their number one mission is combating suicide," she said.
With each step, Kelley will think about those who have served. “I'm going to try to channel the motivation and dedication military members have. And, also remember that even though that particular mile might not feel great in the moment, I am fully capable of doing it and not everyone is that lucky,” said Girardin.
The New York City Marathon is Sunday, November 4th. Girardin reached her goal, according to her fundraising page.