happiest mile

Stephanie Garrett wraps up our Happiest Mile series, and we hope you’ve had time to reflect on your own running memories that brought you the biggest smiles. Looking for more happy miles in 2023? Sign up for Many Happy Miles and join our community of joyful forward movement.

Stephanie, tell us about your family and how you became a runner? My husband, Chad, and I have been married for 19+ years, moved to Colorado in 2017 from Minnesota and have 3 beagles: Sierra (10), Clark (3), and Lex (7 months). We also enjoy hiking, skiing, weightlifting, our Peloton, and cooking. I became a runner in 2011 to lose weight, and with running and better nutrition I lost an initial 80 pounds.

Was it difficult to pick your happiest mile? It was extremely hard to choose my happiest mile. I narrowed it down to 3 and had to choose from those 3 happiest miles. 

We can’t wait to hear all about it. What was it? My happiest mile is the last 1.2 miles of the 2013 Twin Cities Marathon. 

The year before, In August 2012, my running coach was running her first marathon in the Twin Cities and we went to show our support. I was amazed watching all of the runners, especially those after 5 hours. Chad looked at me and said, “Now do you want to run a marathon?” My response was, “Let me review training plans.” The very next week I found a magazine with an article stating, “If you can run a 10K today, you can run a marathon in 12 weeks.” It was a sign, so I started to prepare for a marathon in 2013. 

In addition to running the 2013 Twin Cities Marathon, I was selected as 1 of 8 featured runners with Twin Cities in Motion and was a part of an article in Minnesota Monthly and selected by Fox Sports North to have a film crew follow and record my first marathon experience

October 6, 2013 was my marathon day, and I am still speechless and amazed about every moment almost 10 years later. At mile 24, my cameraman got off of his motorcycle as he could walk faster than I was running! And then you make a left turn as Summit Avenue curves and I could see the St. Paul Cathedral and the finish line of the marathon. The last mile was unbelievably exciting as I ran down a short hill and across the bridge to the finish line. Waiting for me were Chad, my parents and sister, and a couple of college friends. Raising my arms in triumph and receiving my finishers medal is an image burned in my brain.  

happiest mile

Stephanie raising her arms to celebrate her big finish and her happiest mile.

What advice do you want to share with anyone contemplating a big goal? My advice is that you can do anything you put your mind to! Each run—whether training for a race, with girlfriends, your four-legged brf, or alone—are all runs we can learn from and learn about ourselves; mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Have a big goal in 2023?
Tell us about it in the comments so we can encourage you!