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Turning Pain into Positivity | Interview With A Gritty Chix Mud Run Racer

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Turning Pain into Positivity | Interview With A Gritty Chix Mud Run Racer

I recently had the opportunity to interview Karen Walberg, one of the team competitors from the Gritty Chix Mud Run. Why do you love Gritty Chix Karen? “The Mud Run becomes a personal challenge. It is a way to inspire yourself to be better, to be supportive of others and to rise to the challenge of finishing what you started.” This is how the 56 year old Gritty Chix race competitor describes her experience of the annual June mud run event.  Voted Best South Eastern Mud Run by Blueridge Outdoor Magazine 2019.



Why did you decide to put a team together for Gritty Chix?

One of the ladies I work with saw a posting for Gritty Chix and she shared the idea with us. My co-workers and I decided we would team-up and run the course together. We named our team the “Kindred Krazies” and we signed up for the Tenacious Trail 5K portion of the race Tenacious Trail!

I take it you and your co-workers are tight?

“Oh yes, we have always been committed to helping one another through life’s difficulties,” says Karen. The “Kindred Krazies” are a group of skilled nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and office staff who work hard to provide home health care services. But, in addition to their regular workday stresses, a few of the teammates were dealing with some very difficult personal hardships. Karen, for example, was fighting a hard-won battle with breast cancer, while another team member, Tiffany Cook, was faced with the challenges of caring for a critically  ill child. As one can only imagine, any of these situations would be devastating, requiring the tireless support of those in our closest circles to help face these difficulties. 

The Kindred Krazies used the Gritty Chix Mud Run challenge as an opportunity to raise awareness for The Eat Cake Foundation. Started by Tiffany Cook after her son passed away. The Eat Cake Foundation is an organization that provides events for sick and terminal children.  It helps to provide gifts, meals and support for  their families. Some of these resources were made available to the Ronald McDonald House in Charleston, West Virginia.

What did you think of the event after racing?

The Gritty Chix Mud Run is a wonderful event, it helped me tap into my inner fierceness. Most of us trained, but not all of us, the important thing is Gritty Chix is about supporting one another, it is about empowerment, friendship, and an amazing time! Oh, we really had a fun time. I have raced in mountain bike competitions where I was crashed into with a tire, or running events where I was knocked down by other competitors, Gritty Chix is not like that at all. I love the encouragement of other racers, it is the opposite of competing with others. You are competing with yourself. You are there to lend a helping hand to United Way of Southern West Virginia  while cheering on the participant next to you!”

What was your favorite part of the obstacle course?

I loved the rope swing challenge. It was so much fun to dare yourself not to let go and push through to the other side.

Do you think you will race again at Gritty Chix?

Yes, I do. We have all been so restricted with COVID-19 and it will be fun to compete again in 2021. We will all be at the Gritty Cix this year.  We are still the Kindred Krazies.

BY Rosie Carcaro

Rosalie Cacaro, BS grew up on a large farm in Southern Ohio, where her family raised cattle, horses, hay, corn and tobacco. She Studied Community Health at Ohio University and in 1994, during her time in college, she began raft guiding in West Virginia on the New and Gauley Rivers.

In 1996, she began video kayaking on those same two amazing rivers and in 1998 began doing both at ACE Adventure Resort. While she always kept a deep love for whitewater, and a part-time connection to ACE, things changed with the birth of her son.

In 2000, she began a full- time career in Community Health, where she worked until 2019 as an Adolescent Health Coordinator and Health Educator.  She had a long career but, by 2019, she felt overdue for a  new career and found herself back at the place she always loved,  ACE, where she is happily employed as the Wedding Coordinator and Assistant Events Coordinator.

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