Run for Your Life
by Denise Milanese Photography by Christian Lee
Run for Your Life
Katie Howell is a petite blonde with light green eyes and a warm smile that conveys both high energy and serenity at the same time. Katie takes the term ‘active lifestyle’ to a whole new level! This busy mother of two daughters under the age of three works part time on the nursing staff at Beaufort Memorial Hospital and has just opened a new business—Beaufort Running Tour.
Katie has been a runner for more than 15 years, ever since her best friend talked her into running distance track events, instead of the competitive swimming she had participated in since elementary school. The new sport stuck, as she realized she could do it anywhere, rather than commuting 90 minutes twice a day to get pool time for her swim training. She has participated in marathons, half marathons, 5Ks and even a relay race from New Orleans to Pensacola in her many running events. “Running is my sanity! I couldn’t survive without it,” she enthuses. As a military spouse, married to a Marine officer, she is grateful for the good fortune of postings in locales that are runner friendly. They were stationed from 2007 through 2011 here in Beaufort, then on to San Diego from 2011-2014. They jumped at the opportunity to move “back home” to Beaufort when a posting became available in 2014.
The trend toward more active ways to enjoy the history, sights and natural beauty of vacation destinations has been growing all over the world. Self-propelled water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking are joining the more traditional hiking and bicycling to offer visitors and residents alike opportunities to stay in shape and enjoy their surroundings in new, active ways. Running tours represent a new trend and businesses offering many variations of this theme are popping up everywhere.
Katie’s business focuses on peoples’ desire to enjoy destinations in a healthier more active fashion. Currently Beaufort Running Tour operates a schedule of three 3-mile runs per week on Friday and Saturday mornings at 9:30 and Sunday afternoons at 4:00. The runs are paced to fit the ability of the group, stopping at approximately half-mile intervals to view and learn about the many scenic and historic locales in the city. These scheduled runs can accommodate groups of up to six runners. Beaufort Running Tour also offers private tours and can even work with a group to create a route that fits the interests and ability level of the group. A recent private tour took eight staff members of a newly opened fitness club on a team building running tour of the city. Katie foresees many groups taking advantage of her tours from "stroller strides" for moms to date nights for active singles.
On June 4, a new spin on their running tour will kick off their inaugural boot camp tour. This event will lead a group around the historic loop, while engaging in an exercise routine at each stop. Katie anticipates offering more tour boot camp events in the future. She also has plans to develop yet another twist on this concept by including a yoga instructor, who will lead the group in poses and salutations at each stop.
South Carolina is a leader in implementing a statewide healthy community initiative. Goals revolve around encouraging availability of healthier food choices, smoking cessation support and increased physical activity. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control cite the need for expanding efforts to encourage community gardens, farmers’ markets and active lifestyles through citizen driven assets and resources. The world-renowned Cleveland Clinic emphasizes utilizing local resources and amenities in its plan to support healthy community initiative goals. Beaufort is currently evaluating their strategy to participate in the South Carolina Healthy Community Initiative. Katie is proud that her company is on the forefront of this community effort to enjoy beautiful historic Beaufort, while having fun at the same time.
Native: South Carolinian
Academic triple threat: Bachelor degrees from Clemson and USC (Upstate) and MSN from Regis University
Family: Married 7 years to a Marine Major, Mom to two daughters (ages 1 and 2½) and a 7-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, named Rex
Learn more: www.beaufortrunningtour.com