The past year has been one filled with challenges and turmoil for Plantsville resident Kelly Burns Gallagher, an attorney and avid runner, but she never gave up and never stopped serving the community around her.
Now Gallagher's work is giving her inspiration, honoring her for her accomplishments and dedication to the community by naming her as a member of the 2013 ING Hartford Marathon Aiello Elite Inspiration Team.
"It's been a little embarrassing, seeing my name and picture hung on an eight foot banner, but it's also been nice," the seven-year marathon runner said. "It's been a tough year personally, dealing with my own issues, but at same time over the past 7 or 8 years I've spent a lot of time and effort working with various organizations. It's nice to know it doesn't go unnoticed."
Gallagher, who started running when she was in law school in 2005 and has competed in nine marathons across the nation since then, is a multiple-time Ironman and motivated endurance athlete.
In her passion for competition and achieving her idea of the “perfect racing weight,” she developed an eating disorder, body dimorphic disorder and crashed her metabolism, said ING media contact Brie Barash of CJ Public Relations in Farmington.
While these issues could cause many athletes to walk away from a sport they love, Kelly overcame her obstacles and emerged a true leader.
In the past seven years, as an athlete and race director, she has raised over $50,000 for charity and she currently coaches 14 athletes in various endurance disciplines.
Gallagher, 32, along with eight others, will be a part of the ING Hartford Marathon's Aiello Elite Inspiration Team. Team members were chosen based on positive contributions made within their communities and serve as an inspiration to many, Barash said.
“Each year, we hear about so many challenges that our runners overcome and so many significant feats, yet they rarely receive recognition for the accomplishments or their incredible contributions,” said Beth Shluger, Executive Director of the Hartford Marathon Foundation.
“We created the Elite Inspiration Team two years ago to honor and recognize the amazing people who run our events, they inspire us all to live better and to be better. We’re humbled to have these athletes join us to celebrate our 20th running,” she said.
The ‘Come Together’ theme of the ING Hartford Marathon’s 20th running highlights camaraderie, commitment to charity and community involvement, Barash said, which was also reflected in this year’s team.
The Hartford Marathon will take place this Saturday, Oct. 12, with the first leg kicking off at 8 a.m.
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