02 May Team World Vision Interview
An interview with Kristin Alworth
Pastor Joe: Share a little about your current life and where in the past have you been or are you currently involved at Good Shepherd.
Kristin: I’ve been a member of GS since moving to Madison 5 (almost 6) years ago. I grew up in Colorado, went to Luther College for undergrad, and the University of South Carolina for graduate studies. I lived in Virginia and Kansas before moving to Wisconsin. At GS, I am a Lector, and have volunteered in the Food Pantry. I save my coins and donate them to Feed My Staving Children, and look forward to the mobile pack events every year.
I moved to Madison, in part, because I had been working remote, part-time as a Community Manager for SEGA in the US mobile games division. They had an office here, so I had the offer to work full time if I relocated. Unfortunately, they shut down the studio in 2016. I currently work full time as a Community Manager for PerBlue – a local company that make games for mobile devices. I’ve been there for almost 2 years. I have a 10 year old son, Patrick, who love playing games, everything about space, science, and super heroes. I am an active volunteer with Boy Scouts. I was a unit leader for Patrick’s Cub Scout pack, and now I work on the Committee for his Boy Scout troop – 628 – which meets at the Verona Campus. I also volunteer as staff in training other adult leaders for the BSA. I love reading, quilting and crocheting, and being outdoors, submerged in nature. I’m planning my first backpacking trip in the high country of Colorado in late June (assuming the snow is melted enough that the roads are open).
PJ: What is your running history?
K: Before TWV, I wasn’t a runner. My most strenuous workouts were hot yoga classes a couple times a week. I was one of those people who said “I only run if something’s trying to eat me!”
PJ: You have been a part of TWV for 1 year, so what was the call? What caught your attention or attracted you to the ministry.
K: I’d seen the TWV video each year since the team formed, and always told myself I couldn’t do that. It was inspiring to watch those testimonials, but that wasn’t me. In 2018, I think it was just the right moment in my life for TWV to ask me to say yes.
In the middle of 2017 my life was in turmoil as my marriage ended suddenly. As I picked up the pieces and moved forward, I found myself questioning everything in my life – challenging assumptions – and in general, really examining the reasons behind the decisions I was making.
I’d recently lost a friend to cancer, and her attitude about life was inspiring. She’d laugh and say “Just do it, because you never know when they’re going to cut your off your leg!”. After she’d lost her leg as part of her cancer treatment, she participated on a team in a 24-hour fundraiser swimming in a lake. She didn’t know how to swim before the event, but the Girl Scout camp needed new cabins, so she just said yes, because it needed to be done. I wanted to honor Eve’s legacy, so I said yes.
I wanted to challenge myself to do something I’d thought was crazy, that would not only change my life and have a positive impact on other people, but would hopefully, inspire other people. Part of the training I staff with the BSA teaches servant leadership and leaving a legacy. Since I first took the training in 2016, and then was on staff, those 2 things really impact the choices I make in my life. I don’t want my name on a building, but I do want my actions to create positive moments for others. So I stepped outside my comfort zone. Turns out, running the half marathon was the easy part for me – asking people to give money was the scary part.
PJ: Any surprises during the year? What did you learn. What stories do you have from training, fundraising, etc?
K: Even people who’ve been running for years still walk. I have a friend who runs 4 or 5 full marathons a year, and she said to me “oh yea, I walk all the time!” I really hadn’t thought about it, but I’d always assumed, runners ran. Turns out a lot of runners walk at some point during a race and that’s totally ok!
It was wonderful to discover the positive and supportive running community in Madison. The TWV group is amazing – Ironman participants and novice runners alike are all members of the team – a family. The Saturday morning group runs were inspiring for me. I probably shouldn’t admit, but some weeks, that was the only training I did during the week. It didn’t matter though, because we were all there to support each other, and focused on the TWV mission.
Fundraising is hard. I got a few donations from family and friends early on. Running friends welcoming me to the insanity, and non-running friends cheering me on, but telling me I was crazy. It wasn’t until just days before the race that I made my goal – and it wasn’t because I asked in just the right way, or made all the right phone calls. I was wearing the jersey, and going to team practices, and that inspired people outside of my immediate circle to give money. That was the greatest feeling – and I carried that with me on race day. Knowing that the choices I’d made, the way I was living my life, inspired other people to step in and support TWV. As Colin said all last year – we have God Sized Goals – we set our goal and God provides the path to get there.
Race day was amazing.
The energy on the Square that morning was contagious, and even though I was worried about the race, I was pumped up when it started. There was a group from Chicago who were walk/running together, and they were so much fun! I leap-frogged with them for a good portion of the race, and I’d walk with them to hear their funny stories.
It was intimidating when the marathon runners passed by, but many of them shared words of encouragement as they went by. There are some amazing people in the running community.
There were a couple spots in the race, when team members really helped me out. I was slogging my way up that last long hill back toward the Square (from Tenney park, up Mifflin St.) when Colin passed me. Just the pat on my shoulder gave me another burst of energy. Seeing team members who were finished with the race, but had come back to cheer on the others was fantastic. There were a lot of people around the Square at the finish cheering for the race, but having people there that I knew, supporting me and my team was energizing.
Wearing the TWV jersey – people watching the race would shout out questions about TWV. I was able to share the mission, and maybe inspire someone else to look up the organization just by being there.
PJ: What does it mean to your family that you are involved in this ministry?
When I told Patrick I’d signed up, he said “Don’t worry mom, I’ll help you train!” After the race, back at home, he gave me a big hug and said he was proud of me. As a parent, I tell him all the time that I’m proud of him, but it was very special to hear that from him.
My parents are amazing and supportive in everything I do, and they were there on race day – cheering at the TWV tent, and then waiting for me at the finish line.
PJ: Why TWV? What is your draw to the ministry and why do you run?
Like so many people, my life has a crazy schedule. It was increasingly a challenge to get involved in a ministry that happened on a specific day, because I might not have that day available more than once every 2 months. Running is something I can do on my own time. The training runs on Saturday morning are pretty early, so they don’t eat up even half a day (unless you run slow like me 😀 ).
TWV is an amazing organization. As the training season progressed, I learned more about their work, and was more and more impressed with their holistic and sustainable approach. It didn’t take any thought to say yes to a second year.
One of the things I like about GS is the variety of ministries that are local and global. There are ministries that support the neighborhood and Madison area, and others that support people across the world. TWV does both – It challenges and connects the team members here through the running/walking training season, and also supports communities in Africa with the funds raised.