To call Kathy Sebright a dedicated distance runner is a bit of an understatement. Kathy, who lives with her husband Tony and their school-age boys Travis and Emmett in the southwest Michigan community of Dorr, ran throughout her pregnancies, nursed one of her babies at the side of the road during a marathon, has directed a local 5K, led “couch-to-5K” groups, paced fellow runners at numerous races, and tackled ultramarathons.
But what perhaps demonstrates her commitment to our sport and fellow runners best is an endeavor she took on in support of her son Emmett, who lives with Craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which one or more of the joints between the bones of a baby’s skull close prematurely, before the baby’s brain is fully formed. In 2012, Kathy ran 7 hours and 26 minutes on a treadmill in the hospital while surgeons “removed, broke apart, and put back together my 1-year-old’s skull.”
More than 1,000 people virtually joined Kathy — through running, walking, biking, lifting — from 45 states and 13 countries. And in the years following, on the June 20 anniversary of her son’s surgery, Kathy ran the full 7 hours and 26 minutes to raise awareness of Craniosynostosis. Kathy joins Heather on the show to talk about her running journey — how running changed for her after her son’s diagnosis — and also to talk about her new book, the memoir Finding Hope in the Long Run about her experiences as an ultra runner and mom of a son with special needs. Kathy, who is also giving away two of her books to MRG listeners, says her book is about making her way through an especially difficult time in her life and finding hope on the other side.
A special thanks to Mike Moran of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show. Check out his work here, and if you like Michigan craft beer like me, tune into the popular Short’s Cast, a show he produces for Short’s Brewing Company of Bellaire, Mich.