SALT LAKE CITY — Health and fitness expert Lora Erickson is known to many as “The Blonde Runner,” or simply as “Coach” by the many individuals she helps reach health and fitness goals.
An athlete and health guru all her life, Erickson competed in cross-country as a college athlete, earning many honors including the Big West All-Conference Award. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in health education, with dual minors in nutrition and chemistry.
When it came time for Erickson to begin a family, she was determined to remain healthy throughout her pregnancies and into motherhood.
”The way that I looked at it, I was the steward over that little unborn baby body and wanted to do all that I could to give that baby a chance despite my own body’s frailties," she said.
Even with a healthy body, during her first pregnancy Erickson went into labor at 22 weeks gestation due to a condition known as incompetent cervix. Her daughter, which she and her husband named Samantha, passed away after living only five short hours.
Erickson went on to have four healthy babies, who she counts as little of miracles. But just as any mother who has lost a child, she thinks often about Samantha.
I know others suffer grief and loss and often suffer in silence, feeling they are alone. I want them to know they are not alone.
–Lora Erickson, Race for Grief organizer
In an effort to help cope with the grief of her daughter’s death, The Blonde Runner began a race she named the "Race for Grief,” where people who have lost a loved one can come together for a common cause.
“I know others suffer grief and loss and often suffer in silence, feeling they are alone. I want them to know they are not alone,” Erickson said.
“This event is not just limited to those that have lost babies or children," she said. "All those that have ever lost someone — a husband, wife, parent, sister or brother, friend, grandparent — are welcome to attend in the memory of their loved one. When you have lost someone, you never forget them. This is a day to honor their memory and come together to celebrate their life, no matter how long.”
This year's event will be held on Memorial Day, May 26, at the West Bountiful Park. There will be a 5K, 10K and 2-mile walk, with proceeds going to raise funds to support local grieving programs like Caring Connections and Utah Share.
To register for the event, go to blonderunner.com/events/raceforgrief