This Is Carolina: Grand Strand teacher finds her stride, brings inspiration to students, others
“I just feel really accomplished after a run.”
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Cait Klatka is a runner but she wasn’t always.
“I used to jokingly say that I would have that 0.0 sticker on my car because I was not a runner. I wanted to get more in shape, lose a little bit of weight and I always heard that running is the fastest way to do it,” Klatka said.
The 5th grade teacher from St. James Intermediate started small to find her pace and the struggle was real.
“It was interesting. I didn’t want to ever do it again. I think I made it about a half mile before I just turned around and headed back home,” said Klatka.
Deflated but not defeated, Klatka turned to her best friend who is also a teacher and longtime runner, Dayna Frechette.
“I started tagging along with her and the rest is history,” Klatka said.
The best friends run often and sometimes around the middle school without ever missing an opportunity to catch up. And within two years, Klatka caught the runners high.
“I’ve run eight half marathons this year alone as well as another relay,” Klatka said.
She even won first in several races and is now following in Frechette’s footsteps to run the New York City Marathon.
“When the lottery came open I threw my name in. Didn’t make it. But then I found a charity, a wonderful charity so that was how I was able to get into the race,” said Klatka.
The 35-year-old mother of two pounds the pavement 30 miles a week for Autism Speaks, a charity that’s close to her heart.
“As a teacher, I work with a lot of wonderful, exceptional students and this is one that really resonated with me. They do a lot early on for families when they’re trying to get resources,” Klatka added.
Klatka’s goal is to raise $3,200 and she’s raised more than $2,400 so far.
“She is an inspiration. She lives her whole life by example. So, as a teacher, she really talks about fitness. She helps out here with the running club,” Frechette said.
Not only are Klatka’s students proud of her but so is Frechette, who said she can’t wait for her friend to share the same tough but ultimate experience.
“You’re just so hyped up you don’t even feel it. You’re just so excited about it that you’re just ready for it,” said Frechette. “Her doing the biggest marathon in the world and running for a charity that also helps families and children that have autism, I think roots back to being an educator. It’s not just about her and her journey. And her doing this by herself. This is about a bigger piece.”
As for Klatka, she hopes her journey will inspire others to get up and achieve their fitness goals, no matter how long it takes.
“If you have to cut back because of the heat or you’re just tired, just cut yourself some slack. Try again tomorrow. It’s a new day,” said Klatka.
And yes, she will get that marathon sticker.
“Yes, I will definitely be putting it on my car,” Klatka revealed.
The women said their goal is to run half marathons in all 50 states with their next run in Indianapolis in May.
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