This Is Carolina: Grand Strand woman uses physical transformation story to inspire others

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 6:30 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A Grand Strand woman is using her passion of running to inspire others, but her journey to become a 24-time marathoner and running coach was not at all part of her plan.

Dawn White runs nearly every day.

“I don’t have to run. I get to run. That’s how I look at it,” White said.

It’s been a regular part of her life for nearly 15 years.

“I love running more probably than anybody that you ever meet,” White said.

She even turned her love of running into a career as a running coach.

“I really have a passion to help new runners or seasoned runners … whatever their goal is,” she said.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at her now but Whites’ life before running looked a lot different.

“I grew up in the clean plate club,” White said. “Big portions and everything. Fast food and just eating whenever I wanted to. And I didn’t exercise.”

White made a decision to join Weight Watchers. She started eating healthier and running.

She now weighs 60 pounds less than she did back then. What started as just 10-minute walks have now turned into marathons.

“I remember after running my first half, I never allowed myself to think that I could run farther than 13 miles, but when I crossed the finish line, my first thought was, ‘I think I could do 13 more miles!’ and that’s when I knew, ‘You know what? I need to train for a marathon!’ so Disney in 2011 was my first marathon, and I just finished Disney 2022, and that was number 24!” White said.

Her positive attitude and incredible transformation motivates the runners in the training groups she coaches.

“As a person, I think she’s great,” runner Toni Birchler said. “She’s not only my coach. She’s a really good friend of mine, and she’s helped me through some tough times.”

“Her story inspired me to lose weight and to start eating healthier and have a healthier lifestyle,” runner Mary Claire Pegram said.

That one decision to get off the couch and eat right has led to countless benefits for White.

“I feel so much better,” White said. “And I am 51 years old. I am proud of my age. People tell me all the time, ‘You do not look 51.’ I don’t feel 51. I don’t act 51, and I am certainly in better shape than I ever was pre-Weight Watchers.”

She hopes her enthusiasm rubs off on others as well.

“I really want people to love running as much as I do,” White said.

White is also a race director. She organizes the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon every fall.

She said her whole life revolves around running, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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