Kimi Hall feels most safe when she’s running – when her legs are moving, blood is pumping through her body and she does not fear her heart forgetting to beat.
“When I was at rest, or driving, those are the times my heart would forget to beat,” she said. “When I am running my heart rate stays up. It never bothered me when I was running.”
In September 2013, Hall received a pacemaker in case her heart stops, but that has not stopped her from running.
Hall, a nurse, recently ran alongside 12 other runners from around the world in trekking 10 miles at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and 10 Mile in Minnesota. The event selects a group of runners who continue to stay active despite physical setbacks.
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Rich Fischer, communications manager of philanthropy and community affairs, said the organization usually receives more than 300 applications and narrows it down to 25 runners for both the 10-mile and marathon races. He said applicants are asked what running means to them.
“The running part is really a metaphor for us,” he said. “It’s a manner of expressing and articulating how their condition hasn’t slowed them down.”
Hall said she feels even stronger than she did before the pacemaker.
“I look back at pictures and I was gray, I felt so weak, so tired,” she said. “When I’m out there running, I’m so strong right now.
“Maybe part of it is peace of mind. I know when I go to cool down, my heart is going to keep going for me.”
Hall said the run was an experience of a lifetime.
“A year ago, I didn’t know if I would ever be able to run again,” she said. “I was so strong at this point and so shocked that I was so strong.
“Meeting everyone else with their devices was very humbling.”
Hall said she had trained and prepared for the 10-mile race, but it ended up being one of her slowest performances.
“I wanted to run fast and run hard, but when I got there, I just felt like that wasn't what I was there for,” she said. “I wanted to be an inspiration to as many people along the route as I could be.”
Hall has been running competitively for 14 years and now coaches runners with Luke’s Locker in Colleyville. She loves the sport, and running is her morning routine, like a cup of coffee at 3:30.
“It gives me that time to myself to think about what my day’s going to be like,” she said. “It stars my day off right and I feel more energized throughout the day.”
Richard Chance also is a coach with Luke’s. He and several other runners ran in Minnesota last year and when they heard about the Global Heroes program, they had to tell Hall, he said.
“It seems like nothing can keep her down, that’s why I thought she was perfect for this Global Heroes program,” Chance said.
“She loves running and everything, but her strong suit is the way she encourages all the other runners,” Chance said. “She’s a great runner, but she’s even a better person for all the people in the program.”
Hall wants to take her struggle and help others. She said she wants to start a 5K race to help people with heart issues.
“I would love to get out there and raise money and get people to continue living,” she said.