Kortne harris

Kortne Harris photo by Marc Antomattei

MSM: What made you want to tackle the marathon?

Kortne: Honestly, it was FOMO!! I started running in 1994 and my very good friend decided to run a marathon in 1997. I told her that was ridiculous, and I didn’t have time to train because I was planning my wedding. Her excitement about the race was contagious and I promised her that I would run with her the following year, and I ran my first marathon in 1998, the Detroit Free Press International marathon.

MSM: There are marathons and then there are majors which have a different vibe all together. Take us through the feelings of running that first world major and crossing the finish on the last one. Also, when did you know that you wanted to capture all 6 marathon majors?

Kortne: Great question!! I ran the NY marathon in 2018 simply because I was granted an entry via the lottery. At that time, I had not run a full marathon in 10 years and who says no to NY!! Keep in mind, I wasn’t aware of the Abbott World Majors at that time.  So, fast forward to 2019 when some friends and I ran the Paris Marathon. The evening of that marathon l met a sister who was sporting her 6-star medal, and I was in AWE!!! I grilled her on how she earned that medal. After that I researched and committed to only running five more full marathons, Chicago, London, Berlin, Boston and Tokyo. I was 49 and past my running prime, wasn’t sure how I was going to get in Boston; but was determined to earn that medal!

Earning my sixth star in Tokyo was amazing!!! Especially since I ran two in 2022(Berlin and Chicago, 2 weeks apart) and two in 2023(Boston and London, 6 days apart). I also had surgery on my ankle in June 2023. I literally ran Boston and London injured, so completing Tokyo this year was a testament to God’s favor, faith, physical therapy and discipline. I am so grateful for my health and resources. 

MSM: We’ve spoken about the races and running the majors but what has this experience felt like to you, the journey, struggles and training. Give our readers some insight into what those feelings were like going from marathon to marathon, I’m sure each one has a different story and perspective.

Kortne: Honestly, as I mentioned above, it was a true testament of my faith in God, the blessing to have a body that allows me to move and the support from my husband, who can’t believe I still run like this after 30 years. My running community who supports me by running with me, donating to my fundraisers, believing in me and encouraging me. After running for 30 years, on flat feet, custom orthotics, occasional knee issues and of course fighting “Father Time”. It wasn’t easy, but I stayed focused, continued to work on my nutrition and lift weights. In addition to working full-time, starting my day some mornings at 3:45 am, to ensure I get my miles in before work. And balancing this while being a wife and mom to two teenage daughters. It takes time and money, but I can’t express my gratitude enough!

MSM: We are all runners but one of the things we seldom talk about is our full-time responsibilities outside of running. It’s amazing how most of us can find the time to train and run anywhere from 30–60-mile weeks all while balancing our day-to-day responsibilities. Crossing the finish line, finishing all the six-star world majors is an accomplishment, but what’s next? 

Kortne: So, at one point I considered running a half marathon in each of the 50 states, I think I’ve run about 17. Between relocating a few times for work, that was put on the back burner. But I might time to complete now. I also have a strong desire to do a half Ironman. 

MSM: For those that are on this journey what words of encouragement, inspiration or advice would you share with other fellow runners?

Kortne: My mantra has always been “Begin Again”. If you get off track, don’t give up, begin again. If you have a strong desire to complete this goal, connect with individuals with like-minded goals. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your goal and be prepared to make some life changes. Listen to your body, remember food is fuel and rest is necessary. Some of my friends and family don’t understand what or why I do this, but I love pushing my body to do things that I never considered possible. I also love being strong!! We can do so many things and I love to encourage and support others. Use social media if you don’t have connections in your area. 

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