The Run Down - The RunVermont Blog

Hall of Fame Nominee: Karen Morris

by jen on April 17, 2013 · 0 comments

in Notes from the Station

Do you know about the RunVermont Hall of Fame? We honor outstanding individuals for their achievements and contributions to running in Vermont with an annual Hall of Fame award. The award is presented to an individual who is; a true ambassador of running by promoting running as a lifelong activity wherever he/she goes, has made significant contributions to the sport through running, volunteerism, sponsorship or organization, in the judgment of the Selection Committee, typifies the true spirit of RunVermont by embracing and perpetuating athletic spirit in the Vermont community.

Please meet our sixth nominee, Karen Morris.

Karen and Michelle after the Half Marathon at Disney in 2012

I have known Karen for over 20 years and no matter what she does, she puts in 100%. Karen ran her first marathon in 2004 (I believe) at the Vermont City Marathon. She trained herself by reading books and learning from others and committing the time and energy to be prepared for that first marathon. Since that time, Karen has run many marathons and will run her 25th marathon at the Vermont City Marathon’s 25th anniversary.

Karen has encouraged many runners over the years. Some friends, co-workers and some were people she didn’t even know. Karen has graciously volunteered her time over the past many years helping to coach the Middlebury Union Middle School cross country team with Wendy Hollander. In addition, she has volunteered her time through the winter months to meet with the kids after school certain to run with them to keep them in shape for the upcoming track season and next year’s cross country season.

In addition, Karen has donated her time at the Salisbury Elementary School by taking a group of young children, working with them to teach the basics of running and to be more active. She has taken several kids under her wing and spent many afternoons running with them and preparing them to run a 5k. She encouraged those kids and got them excited to run the Ripton Ridge Run 5k. If their parents could not afford to pay the registration or it wasn’t waived, Karen would pay and make arrangements to get the kids to the race. She stayed and ran with all of them to make sure every single child made it to the finish line. She would run with some of them, then double back and run with the slower ones … even walking with them when they had to. Karen also assisted in getting sneakers for some children through donations so they would have good footware to be able to run without injuries.

I admire and respect Karen for the time she has dedicated to the sport and to all those other runners (including me) that she has encouraged to take on the challenge and see it through to the end – to the completion of a race! She is one of the most selfless people I know, will ing to convey all that she has learned and knows about running to to others to continue the sport and to get peple out pounding the pavement!

Sincerely, Michelle Perlee


Being asked to provide a letter of support for Karen Morris as a nominee for the RunVermont Hall of Fame is the equivalent of asking my kids if they want ice cream after dinner. They don’t blink twice and I didn’t either as my admiration for Karen and her ability to affect people’s lives with her passion for running is moving.

I remember my first few miles of my first training runs after Karen convinced me to sign up for a marathon. They were torture. I could not understand how rain or shine, snow or sun, freezing temps or wonderfully warm days, Karen could be out running by my house, around the lake or through town with the cross country team. It wasn’t until she lured me out for a run around the lake that I understood better. Running is not what Karen does. Running is what Karen is. She is consistent, encouraging, confidnet, fun, friendly, inspiring. It takes all these things to run multiple marathons a year. To have the drive to encourage kids, co-workers, mothers, daughters, husbands, students to go out there every chance they have and run after the joy she finds every time she laces up her shoes. And finally, to have the will to keep going up the big hills, to run in the rain, to literally run down a dream as big as completing a marathon in every state.

If my testimony is not sufficient, I highly recommend you ask the students of Salisbury, the running teams in Middlebury, the legion of friends that now join Karen on runs for additional support. She has not only impacted peoples’ lives through her love of running, but has honestly changed them. I never thought I could run 5 miles, never mind 13… Karen helped me bridge that seemingly insurmountable gap … and I’m not the only one.

-Bethany Morrissey, Teacher, Salisbury Community School


My name is Wendy Hollander and I am very enthusiastically nominating Karen Morris to the RunVermont Hall of Fame. Karen is a good friend, runner partner and assistant coach with me. Karen displayed unfailing support for me las winter when I was training for my first half marathon with supportive emails, long runs and a water belt for my 50th birthday! Karen has inpired her clients to start running and enter races. She helped a co-worker with post partum depression to re-ignite her running and enter a 5k race, relieving her her symptoms better than medication.

Karen is responsible for motivating many people of all ages and abilities to start running and entering races of various distances thus improving their lives.

- Wendy Hollander

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