For Kayla Stanton, running is anything but a chore. This longtime runner first got her start in high school and later returned to racing just a few years ago. Since then, she has run three marathons and countless half marathons. Her motivation through it all? It’s simple: love of the sport.
Stanton’s love of running gets her through every step of preparation for each race. “The training can be grueling and time consuming, but the way you feel after crossing that finish line makes it all worth it,” she said. Stanton can expect to experience that same satisfaction when she crosses the TCS NYC Marathon finish line for the first time.
Although, while running has been Stanton’s first love, it certainly isn’t her only. Stanton’s husband, Ryan, will be joining her to take on the five boroughs come November. Running stands as a staple of their relationship – a constant presence since their early days together. “When we first started dating, we would go out for runs. He’d hold his own, but he could never talk with me while running,” she recalled. Though, at first, Ryan was not nearly as fond of running as she was, it eventually became their shared sport of choice.
The decision to devote their time to running didn’t come without trial and error, however. “I tried weight training with him too, but it really wasn’t for me. I tried his thing, and he tried mine, and he ended up falling into it,” she shared. Since then, they have become a power couple in training – literally – as they spend much of their time preparing for their next race.
It’s no surprise, then, that Stanton and her husband serve as each other’s biggest cheerleaders. “I love his passion and enthusiasm, even when he’s just watching me run. And now that he’s into triathlons, I get so excited for him. We keep each other’s passions going,” she said. That passion has led them on trips to places such as St. Croix for a belated honeymoon, where Ryan ran an Ironman 70.3, and to Boston where Kayla runs the annual marathon that often coincides with her husband’s own birthday.
Already accustomed to marking major milestones with a marathon, Stanton was immediately drawn to the idea of running for an important cause. As not only a member of Team Mission United, but also as a relative of several veterans, she recognizes the need to support veterans as they transition back to civilian life. “My cousin and grandfather served, and I have so much appreciation and respect for the sacrifices they made. As a registered nurse, I also frequently care for veterans, many of which struggle with substance abuse, homelessness and lack social support from their families and communities. I know there is more that we can do to for these individuals, which is why I look forward to being on Team Mission United, and running for an organization that provides programs and resources to our veterans. Running 26 miles in support of those that have dedicated their lives to our country is the least I can do”.
“Kayla and Ryan are the perfect addition for Team Mission United,” added John Durso, President of Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and United Way of Long Island Board
Member. “Sponsoring this power couple as they take on this challenge is a thrill, especially since their efforts benefit the veteran population that so rightfully deserves our full support.”
As November nears, Stanton can count on Team Mission United and her personal partner-in-competition to keep her motivated. They will carry her all the way to the finish line – the exact route to which she intends to let remain a surprise, as she prepares to run the race without first seeing the course firsthand. “I know New York is a very challenging race but there’s definitely a thrill to going in without knowing exactly what to expect,” she said. With a passion for running like Stanton’s, there’s no need to worry about whatever may be waiting along the road to racing success.