On Sunday, more than 100 runners ranging in age from 40 to 84 from across the country competed in the USA Track & Field Masters 5K Championship.
Part of a three-day event that featured three different cross country meets, Sunday was the final meet with the Masters 5K Championship. The event brought with it many visitors to the Capital City as well as high schoolers, people in junior college, and a variety of men and women ranging from all ages strapped up their shoes to take on the course set up at Apalachee Regional Park.
Kathy Wolski was one of the many who came to Tallahassee to go up against the course.
“I'm 50, so it was a way for me to try something that I haven't done in over 30 years. So it was more about being brave, kind of stepping out of myself. I've been doing road racing and marathoning, so this is neither my terrain or my distance,” Wolski said.
To the oblivious onlooker during the women’s 5K race, Wolski was holding her own with some of the fastest women in cross country racing. As she crossed the finish line for third place, her family whooped and cheered, attesting to their undying support for her.
Wolski’s daughter, Ellie said, “She is really an inspiration and not just to (us). You know you hear about people coming up to her and saying, ‘thank you, you inspire me,’ but to us, and I have two little sisters, my little sister is into running and I can tell how much she takes from my mom.”
For the Wolski family, Kathy’s longtime passion for running has become a family affair. All three of her kids also participate in running and her husband, though not quite a championship runner, makes his own effort to support his wife and family.
“It’s a good healthy lifestyle and I think it’s a good to learn early in life something you can do for the rest of your life. You know, like, some sports like soccer or football or even weightlifting, it very complicated to do to help stay in shape. But running is something (that) you can throw your shoes in the car and do it, so it’s a good base level fitness for the family to carry through to the rest of their life,” David Wolski said.
While the kids may not all be championship runners in the next 10 years, David stressed that running should still be an integral part of their lives so that they can pass down the beauty of the activity to their children. Beyond bringing their own family closer together, the Wolski’s believed that running has the unique ability to unify people who would’ve never even had a chance to connect with one another.
“It is a lot of families of every background, every ethnicity, just all kind of mixed and we all have that common bond of racing and it is fun,” Kathy said.
The Wolski family said that they had found much success in running together and supporting each other and encouraged other families to give it a shot and slip on their running shoes too.
“I think there’s a lot of life lessons in running in track. I didn’t grow up running like my wife did,” David said, “But there’s a lot to be learned just from a self-discipline and a confidence level.”