Kelly (37) and Keith (39) Bowers met in Pella, Iowa, and growing up, they had different approaches to running. Even though Keith participated in several different sports, he hated running and only did what was required for his sports. On the other hand, Kelly loved it and dreamed of being in the Olympics. Unfortunately, an ankle injury and other medical issues kept her from running her senior year in high school, stopping running until she and Keith began running together. 

The idea of running together began in 2015 when Kelly had the idea to do a Couch to 5k program to help them prepare for an upcoming road race. They wanted to meet people, be more active, and have an outlet other than work that took over both their lives. The Lake Club Group, the run club they did their Couch to 5K program with, changed their lives. Kelly says, “They influenced our love of volunteering, charitable giving, being a good human, and being a part of the community. They helped us train for our first marathon and taught us so many things about life and running that we will never forget.” The group kickstarted a lot of their community around running and didn’t stop there! In 2016, their running continued into Memphis, moving there for Keith to work at the University of Memphis.

Kelly and Keith decided to start their own Memphis running group, the Sea Isle Park Runners group, in early 2017. They loved going to the breakaway run groups but wanted something closer to where they lived. Kelly put up flyers in the nearby Sea Isle Park and advertised on social media, looking for people who wanted to run, too. Before long, people were showing up. The group took off during the pandemic while everyone was in isolation. They found being together during a difficult time important and had no regrets about sticking with it. 

The group’s goal is to offer support and celebrate each other’s lives while being a place of connection full of empathetic, hard-working, and fun-loving people. They welcome change and new adventures, too. And, for those who want to start running but don’t know where to start, the Sea Isle Park Runners group is a great place to start. The group does road and trail running with varying paces and abilities. Keith and Kelly encourage everyone to work hard at their own pace, stepping out of their comfort zones and taking a step back if needed to avoid injuries. 

For Keith and Kelly, the Sea Isle Park Runners group has been a source of personal growth and support. It’s not just about running; it’s about finding a social outlet outside of work, making running a team sport, and creating a place that feels like home. In their group, everyone steps up for one another, creating a supportive and inspiring environment. “They are doers. That is everything. That is the Sea Isle Park Runners.” 

For more info, visit the Sea Isle Park Runners Facebook page. 

By Dallas Meador 

Photo by Tindall Stephens