Club ‘Chronicle’ Winner

They came. They trained. They conquered. Every member of Club Chronicle crossed the Trail of Lights 5K finish line on Saturday, Dec. 8. “We all finished the race, including Ian [Forslund], in spirit, carried on Lizzie [Thompson]’s back in the form of a picture,” Katie Lopez, 32, said. Forslund, 42, was unable to train or run due to health issues.

This was the second year Zen Japanese Food Fast has organized the Trail of Lights 5K challenge but the first the Chronicle has sponsored a team. In September, 130 people registered for the challenge; 10 made the final cut – 10 who would soon run their first 5K.

For two months, Club Chronicle trained together every Saturday at 8am with Patrick Guy from RunTex and continued all the way up to the day of the race. “I was looking forward to sleeping in,” Lopez said. “Two runs in one day will be a record for me!”

The Club Chronicle winner was not based on speed but left up to Chronicle readers; the only stipulation for the runners was that they had to cross the finish line. Voting closed on Saturday, Dec. 15, with Lopez taking the grand prize: a one-year membership to Pure Austin, gift certificates to Zen and the Brain & Spine Center, and two 2008 South by Southwest wristbands.

Fairly new to the world of motherhood, Lopez thought that the baby weight would melt off after the baby came. It didn’t. She looked to the Zen Challenge to help her become healthier and more in shape for her family and herself.

Lopez finished faster than she expected – in about 35 minutes. “I forgot to turn around and see what the timer said when I crossed; I was too busy looking out for other people, dogs, and strollers so that I wouldn’t fall,” she said of the eclectic mix the Trail of Lights 5K tends to bring: walking presents, decorated strollers, reindeer dogs, and Santas in Speedos.

“We all have it in us to get in shape – I think sometimes we just need people to be accountable to.” After her first 5K, she says she’s hooked. “It’s been a great opportunity; I want to keep training and do some more.”

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