every runner has a story

Meet Sarah Kozul

► From: Bowling Green, MO
► Started Running: 2010, at age 39
► used the Galloway run-walk-run method to qualify for Boston

The Lakeland Runners Club exists to promote running and fitness for runners of all ages and abilities in the community. We are led entirely by volunteers, and for many years Sarah Kozul has been a dedicated volunteer to the club, executing behind the scenes with many, many hours donated to the benefit of LRC, and the entire running community. We asked Sarah some questions to get to know her better. 

What is your favorite thing about being connected to LRC? 

Runners are genuinely the nicest people. The Lakeland running community is full of runners supporting and encouraging one another. It makes me so happy to see people fall in love with running – especially kids – and to watch friendships blossom and grow over training runs and through races. I had wonderful mentors and role models who shared the value of being a part of the formal running community.

Why do you serve on the LRC board? 

I had no idea how nonprofits worked or even everything the LRC did for the community when I first signed up to help. I started out as a volunteer for Inner Act Alliance to plan the Red Ribbon Half Marathon and as a coach for Lakeland Galloway and the LRC middle school cross country team before I joined the board. Nothing about running is super complicated, but it takes the passion of a large group of people with diverse skills to make it all look easy. I feel really fortunate to be part of this core team following in the footsteps of all the amazing volunteers who have given their time for the past five decades to grow and support the local running community. I really enjoy getting to put my technical skills and love of running together as a volunteer with the LRC.

What is your favorite running memory? 

I don’t have just one! I still get emotional thinking about these three specific moments: at the finish of my first half marathon in 2010 in Humble, TX, the finish of the Myrtle Beach Marathon in 2018 when I qualified for the Boston marathon, and the end of a 20-mile run after my back surgery in 2019 in Peterson Park. They are so special because of the people who shared them with me, all the miles we ran in the months prior to prepare, and their belief that I could do it. Those celebratory sweaty hugs are ones I’ll remember forever.

What is something most people don’t know about you? 

I ran multiple marathons before I ran my second 5k.  After 10 years, I may have run as many 5ks as marathons, but that we all get to share the same joy of accomplishment regardless of the distance or pace we run is one of the things I love most about running.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

More To Explore

Meet Marshall & Glenda Babbitt

A love of fitness brought Marshall and Glenda together, and now they share their passion for this sport as a director and coach for the LRC. Together, they embodied the ethos of giving back and paying it forward.

Read More »

Meet Abby Rowzee

After escaping the bitter winters of the Northeast and moving to Lakeland in 2018, Abby recognized how large and active the running community is in Lakeland. That recognition led directly to a decision to take up running for the first time. And, as we all have learned or will learn, getting started is the hardest part.

Read More »

Meet Kaelani Leone

Kaelani completed all 10 LRC races in 2019, winning overall female at the Aching Quad Challenge and Double Down 5k, and placing in her age group in the other events. Leone also became a certified RRCA running coach in 2019, and volunteers with the LRC as a coach for the LRC Kids Run Club. In 2020 Kaelani trained for and completed her first marathon, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, in 2:55:30.

Read More »

Meet Roxanne Youngs

You may know Roxanne Youngs by her hashtag #whatsyourgrandmadoingtoday and maybe you think of her as the little engine that could (do anything!). In her story, she shares how it took her forever to get up the nerve to go the LRC group runs and how looking back, going is one of the best things that has ever happened to her.

Read More »
Meet Sarah Kozul