Saturday Spotlight- Dawn Testa

Name – Dawn Testa
Age – 43
Kids – 3 Boys (ages 17, 20 & 21)
Partner of 12 years – John Oakley

Running has played and continues to play a very important part in my life. Like so many of us, we have all experienced some kind of pro or con that has brought us to our own personal running journey.

My journey started in 2002, when I was going through an extremely stressful divorce with three young children.

I can’t imagine where I would be today if I had not been inspired by my partner John to start running, to reduce stress and of course to keep healthy, mentally and physically. When I first started running I must admit, I hated it!!!

My first race was at Robert Moses. A 1 miler, where I ran just over a 12 minute mile. I was not discouraged and in fact encouraged by John to continue to run; and over time I would get better and indeed this did come true.

Honestly, I can’t remember when I received my first medal for placing in my age group. But As I continued to run and got better, I managed to place in numerous races and receive medals; over the years. The running bug had struck, running wasn’t as dreadful as it first appeared to me…
Now, life hasn’t been easy for me. My parents separated when I was 9 years old and I spent the majority of my teenage years with my dad. Being the youngest of three siblings, you would think that I would have been slightly spoiled; life was just the opposite.

My father was and still is a very strict and a non-negotiable individual. God for bid you differ in political views; he will mentally strong arm you into believing his point of views… LOL! Politics are band from the dinner table in our house! Being the man my father is, I have learned that if you want anything out of life, one must go out and ascertain the things one wants by hard work and determination; nothing is for free!

With that in mind I have also learned to be compassionate towards others, to lend a helping hand when I am able, not to give up just because things didn’t go my way the first time. And just because I am a woman, doesn’t mean I cant do a man’s job.

Running has kept me sane over the years by reducing stress from:
An extremely difficult divorce
Life as a single parent
Trying to parent my children with an unrealistic ideology of an ex-husband on how children should be raised “as a friend” ugh!
Overcoming the challenges of a difficult divorce and becoming a Police Officer
And currently dealing with a Thyroid condition which caused me to gain 25 lbs in a short period of time.

I am grateful for the running community! I learned that the majority of runners are kind, compassionate, hard working and determined. I want to thank Kristen Densing especially for introducing me to the Selden Hills in 2013! In turn I was able to introduce John to the Selden Hills 10k Course, even though he had been running a portion of the Selden Hills for many years.

I have met numerous people running and walking the hills. Katie McGrath’s Warrior of the Month Story inspired me to contact her and take control of my current medical condition and start weight training; thank you Katie! Slow and Steady results are appearing, and thank you for introducing me to IGR!
The sheer determination of runners have inspired me on the hills. Most importantly, FRIENDSHIPS are built on the hills!

Running is a way of life – Running keeps the Mind, Body and Sole STRONG! – Never give up and keep running!

Thank you for letting me share the short and painless version of how and why I started running!

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