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If I Can, You Can! – Karen Sparks

If I Can You Can Karen Sparks How It All Started Run Tri Bike Magazine
Karen Sparks
Year started: 2017
Next race: October 8, 2022 / Indiana Trail 100 / Chain O’Lakes State Park Indiana
Favorite gear:

Nike Wildhorse , Coros Watch, Hoka Speedgoat, Pro Compression or Feetures, XOskin or Nike shorts, fancy running skirts, Salomon and Orange Mud vests, Goodr, and trucker hats

Married 11 years to the devil himself
Filed for divorce on October 19, 2015 — Double homicide/ suicide Nov 1, 2015 (2 weeks later)
Soon to be ex husband murdered our 2 children, 2 dogs, and killed himself in a house fire
He burned my whole life to the ground.
I am a survivor of Filicide and a bereaved mother

Started boxing and running in 2016
Lost 60 lbs in a year

Began racing in Dec 2016 from Dallas BMW road to the Bandera trails
Shock and adrenaline took over

I spiraled into debilitating depression and grief
Suicidal May 3 2018
Admitted into Residential Treatment for Trauma – 90 days
Came home. Time standing still. Like a soldier coming home from war. I was lost in this big world.
Got a full time job and that lasted 10 mos. PTSD set in.

Continued training and running

My discovery of ultra running led to a new realization of faith, healing, hope, and purpose
Joined a trail running team ( Team Dirt & Vert) that held me accountable in 2019 – current
Started writing our book in 2019 – Just signed a book deal in 2022 with Idea Architects. Bittersweet.

Started a non profit called The Great Root Movement.
Running, writing, and the non profit gives me purpose in life
Run my first 100 miles solo on October 31, 2020. 5 year anniversary of my kids death. Dallas WFAA Channel 8 news filmed this journey.

Our Story made the Runners World Magazine September 2021
Cancelled my 100 miler in October 2021 due to injury
Spine ( L5S1) degeneration/ arthritis and severe sciatica/piriformis injuries
Took 4 months off of running
Did PT, hiking, and stationary bike
No surgery or injections like I was told by doctors
Came back in January 2022 and holistically doing what I can and speaking life into my body
Learning to walk and then run this time around

Run towards the pain. Not away. Go through. Not around.
Race directing my first annual race on October 1, 2022 through The Great Root Movement.

Love Never Ends Trail Run 5k, 10k, 15k at Erwin Park.
Running my second 100 miler in October ( first live 100 race) IT 100
My dream  is to be at Moab 240 and Cocodona 250 in 2024 and 2026 in honor of my Reagan & Grant’s senior year. I have lots of work to do!

Whether it’s in everyday life or on the trails, I run at my own pace.
I hope by sharing my story that you will find encouragement and strength even in the darkest of circumstances.

Always Running with R&G
If I can, You can!
Keep going. Run your race. Finish strong. RIZE!