shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Latest information about COVID-19 and the campus community


News Highlights

Page address:

Life Lessons on Display at Mankato Marathon

Cindra Kamphoff described the Sport Psych Team she helped organize to help runners in the Mankato Marathon.

Cindra Kamphoff, For the Mankato Free Press, 10-28-2012

Instead of running in the Mankato Marathon last weekend, I was on a bike. I helped organize a Sport Psych Team, spon­sored by UCare, that provided run­ners with the men­tal tools and moti­vation they needed to be successful in the race. It’s the only “mental team” con­nected to a marathon that I know of in the United States, and it was fun to be a part of something that no one else is doing. About 20 of us were at the Expo, at the start of the race and all along the case as “Psychs on Bikes,” providing run­ners with advice and moti­vation.

In order to provide ath­letes with the right mental tools to help them be at their best, we had to talk with them. And that gave us the opportunity to hear their stories.

We heard stories of run­ners overcoming obstacles just to get to the starting line. We heard stories about runners extending them­selves by signing up for something they had never done before. We heard sto­ries of runners pushing their minds and bodies to the limit to reach their goals.

Ellen told me her story at the starting line. She had lost 100 pounds and was running her first half marathon to prove to her­self that she could continue to do anything she put her mind to. I saw Burt, an 87­year- old man, finish his 325th marathon defying logic that “old people can’t run a marathon.”

I saw Dani, a Mankato native, blaze the trail in the half marathon with the biggest smile on her face.

Her passion and enjoyment of running lit up the path and those around her as she flew by. I talked to Scott, whose hamstring cramped in Sibley Park; even though he knew he wouldn’t make his goal time, he kept going, kept pushing, and remained positive all the way to the finish line.

Perhaps the most impactful story I saw unfold was Rebecca’s. Rebecca, the last marathon finisher, displayed resilien­cy and perseverance even as she had to finish the race on the sidewalk, because the marathon course was closed and cars were zoom­ing by. She kept going so she could proudly call her­self “a marathoner.” As I listened to these stories I heard passion, persistence and a belief that anything is possible. I heard persever­ance and positivity.

I also heard that these people run for the same reasons that I do, no matter how fast they were or when they finished. It reminded me of a quote I heard once: “I am a runner because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far.”

We run to accomplish a goal, to work at something day by day and week by week. We run to lose weight. We run to feel bet­ter about ourselves. We run to prove that we can accom­plish anything with hard work and dedication. We run to be with others and experience the social aspect of running together. We run because it is what we do, because running is who we are and part of our identity.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

© Cindra Kamphoff, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Minnesota State University. She also operates Your Runner’s Edge,, where she consults with all types of performers to help them transform their performance and their lives. Her column will appear in The Free Press periodically. Contact her at

Email this article | Permanent link | Topstories news | Topstories news archives