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Could you climb the height of Mt. Everest… In just 36 hours? Laurel did.

 

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When Laurel Anderson first started running, “just about 4 years ago,” she never thought she’d be running marathons and hiking mountains.

“Working out on a regular basis is not easy,” she said. “Not only do you have to bear the elements of being outside, but carving out a significant amount of time is tough at times.”

She’s got her hands full managing Wichita employee engagement within the Community Affairs department of Koch Industries— manning the ship at volunteering events, running on-site activities, and organizing partnerships with local non-profits. 

When she’s not fulfilling her regular work duties, you can find Laurel at meetings for Koch’s Wichita Sports Commission Board— the group behind the Prairie Fire Marathon and the Wichita Corporate Challenge. 

She’s part of the Valley Center Lions’ Club too, fittingly:

Lions meet the needs of local communities and the world every day because they share a core belief - to serve their community, reads their website.

“To sum all that up, I like to volunteer,” Laurel said. “Giving back however I can is how I like to spend my time.”

So we think she’s kind of a superstar for somehow… between all her girlbossing and philanthropic efforts, and the haircut she gets every week like clockwork… finding time to pick up running in the past 4 years. 

We asked Laurel about her favorite ways to stay fit, because surely, someone THIS driven runs for a reason. 

“If we're being honest, the [fitness] activity I do the most is running,” Laurel noted. “I can't say that it's my favorite. However, I keep doing it, so…there's something to say about that.”

 

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Just don’t ask her to register for a triathlon any time soon— she said she hates biking and swimming.

“At this point, I definitely exercise so I can eat. Give me all the food."

Whatever the reason, Laurel’s approach to exercise is admirable. She’s eager to best her own records, thoughtful with her training plan, and treats the run with a ritualistic reverence—

For example, “I only wear a hat when running,” she said, “and it is always backwards.” 

So far, she’s knocked out:

    • a handful of half marathons,
    • a couple full marathons,
    • an ultra-marathon (50K),
    • Pikes Peak Ascent,
    • and most recently, 29029.

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Not familiar with that one? 

29029 is “a new category of challenge that's equal parts physical, mental, and spiritual,”  in which participants hike one of America’s highest peaks over and over—up to 19 ascents— until they’ve climbed 29029 vertical feet… 

…Which is exactly the height of Mount Everest. 

Talk about a challenge! Finishing this kind of major hike takes a lot of grit and determination. But Laurel was game for it.

She put in a LOT of miles in preparation, trying all sorts of different exercises that she wasn’t used to. 

Unfortunately, her knee wasn’t used to them either. 

“My knee started hurting when I ran, and [I] knew it was time to get it sorted out,” Laurel said. 

 

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That led her to Dr. Allison Bullinger here at Natural Wellness Physiotherapy. 

Allison helped Laurel skip the injection and surgery recommendations that so many primary care providers make to runners. 

Laurel’s knee was just working a little too hard!

“After seeing Allison for a few sessions, and realizing my leg was just getting overworked, things started to ease up and go away,” Laurel said. “With a few torture sessions of needling and scraping, we are back in business.”

“Without her help and support, I'm not really sure if I would have been able to complete 29029.”

In fact, just a few years ago, Laurel wasn’t too sure if running would ever stick for her. 

“I feel like my proudest moment,” she said, out of all the medals and bibs she’s accumulated,  “was just getting started and then sticking with it.”

The lesson in all of this?

“This is very cliché, but you really can do anything you put your mind to,” Laurel said. 

“Climbing the same elevation as Mt Everest and living in Kansas don’t fit well. But, with a lot of grit, determination, and training, we got there.”

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Team Natural Wellness
Post by Team Natural Wellness
September 11, 2023

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