Run, girl, run!
Big Sky Resort’s new director of sales, Katie Grice, is a self-proclaimed goal setter, and proud of it. So when she turned 30, she decided to tackle a marathon a year. Now 33, she’s raced in the Bozeman and Billings marathons. She hopes each helped prepare her for her fourth—the New York City Marathon.
There are a number of ways to get into the NYC Marathon, taking place Nov. 4, 2018—by qualifying at previous races, being picked in a drawing, or in Grice’s case, by running for a charity. Hers is Girls on the Run, a program offered at Ophir School via the Thrive program. Her charity team, Soule Mates, aims to raise $3,000 for Girls on the Run, an international organization that “inspire(s) girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum, which creatively integrates running.”
This will be Grice’s third year coaching the young lady runners, and she hopes to inspire them as she competes in one of the highest profile marathons in the world—one of likely more than 50,000 runners in the 26.2 mile race through the five boroughs of the Big Apple.
The Big Sky chapter of Girls on the Run meets twice a week in the fall and spring, and it’s an after-school and work activity Grice truly looks forward to.
“Our goal is to always move forward,” she said, describing a typical afternoon group run with the girls. “There’s nothing better than the girls holding hands, running together, singing and skipping.”
And it has the same impact, said Grice, on third-through-fifth grade girls as it does on her.
The twice-weekly runs with eight to 15 girls culminate in a final 5K for the season, such as the Turkey Trot in the fall or the Mother’s Day run in the spring.
“There are times we have to lift each other up,” said Grice. “We’ll hold hands to move forward if we need to, and we always celebrate those accomplishments.”
At the end of a long run, the girls and their coach join in a circle for silly cheers and acknowledgements of those who “went the extra mile.” Those little rallies are a highlight for Grice, as well as seeing her young runners out in the community.
Grice has been marathon training throughout the summer—focusing on a rigorous schedule and timing her runs, which take place four to five times a week. She’s also gathered advice from Big Sky locals Maren Dunn Chandler and Marne Hayes, who have run the NYC in the past, and have helped pump up Grice with the energy and excitement a race with thousands upon thousands of competitors exudes.
In the past, Grice has competed in The Rut, Big Sky’s signature trail running race, but is forgoing the mountain race to focus on pounding the pavement this time around.
“But really, I’ve always been more of a goal setter than a runner,” she explained.
Coming from Big Sky, a race of this magnitude is understandably a bit nerve-racking—not to mention the logistics.
“I am definitely nervous,” Grice said. “Even the schedule to take the Staten Island Ferry to the starting line makes me nervous, as well as being surrounded by so many amazing athletes. But it’s also exciting. I feel it all. But at the end of the day, when the race starts it’s my race, and nobody else’s. It’s my goal, that I set, and my focus is to make it to the finish line.”