Jan Walker has been active all her life, participating in and coaching team sports such as basketball, softball, and soccer. However, over the years she had let work and other business priorities cloud her ability to keep physically active. So, one day in 2011, she just literally got up off the couch and went out for a run.
It wasn’t pretty and she didn’t get far before she had to start walking. But she continued everyday until soon she was able to run an hour without having to walk. Over that period of time she was also able to drop 40 lbs. That’s when she decided to enter her first race in more than 20 years. It was a small community sponsored 5K, but it was a turning point in helping gain the confidence to continue with longer distances.
Soon 5K’s led to 10K’s, which led to 10 milers, then half marathons. Next came Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons. Before she knew it, she was running 50K’s, signing up for 50 milers, then the 500K Vol State Road Race, the Grand to Grand 7 day Stage Race in Utah, the Keys 100 mile Relay, several Century Races (100+ mile cycling events), and in November of 2014 she completed her 1st Ironman Race in Panama City, FL.
The idea to do a run across the US started to take hold soon after completing the Vol State Road Race in the summer of 2013. The Vol State is known as an excellent “try out” for anyone considering a run across the US. Jan finished this 500K (314 mile) Race in 9 days, 10 hrs, 11 min, 42 secs.
When Jan completes the “Rise Up For The Fallen” Run, she will be one of the oldest documented females to ever complete a solo trans-continental run.
As for her personal and work life, she was a successful business owner before semi-retiring in 2006. Now, when she’s not out running ultra distances, and training for Ironman Races, she works part-time as a Luthier (a person who repairs guitars), and she also works as a triathlon coach for Team Soul Sports.
Jan, and her husband Chuck (along with Kitty Kate the Cat), split their time between Knoxville, TN and Jupiter, FL