Why we walk

A passion for going the distance By Kathleen Hostert

Craig and I have been married for 35 years, and the key to our marriage, and our emotional and physical health, is walking as a couple. Walking together gives us the opportunity to breathe fresh air, disconnect from our phones, and have some of the best conversations together. We believe in walking and talking and we honestly believe it has made our marriage stronger. It also makes us feel better inside and out.

At times, we walk on our own with our favorite music playing, as music has a way of filling the heart while motivating us to walk at a good pace. We both love to walk wherever we camp as we have learned that walking sends us on journeys where we can see things we may have never experienced. Walking allows us to see and appreciate nature at its best. We stop to smell the flowers, hear the birds sing, or witness the flight of a beautiful butterfly or dragonfly.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think we could walk 13.1 miles together, but we did. It was an amazing accomplishment! We trained together for several months; it was great to have a goal to work toward.

Walking creates a sense of calm which benefits our blood pressure and overall health. We enjoy walking so much that we were inspired to create the Donate Life Run/Walk to educate and inspire the community on the importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation after I was blessed to donate a kidney to Craig.

We have had some incredible walks together in our 35 years of marriage. I will never forget our first walk together down the hospital hall in 1998 following Craig’s kidney transplant. Craig endured 2½ years on dialysis prior to the transplant and was too tired to walk like we always had in the past.

Another incredible walk was the day we renewed our vows on our 25th wedding anniversary. I realized at that time what an honor and privilege it was to walk down the aisle with my son on my arm and re-marry my soul mate. Often, we all take life for granted and forget what an incredible gift it is to have the ability to move our bodies and exercise.

My son, Justin, and I were honored to walk alongside the Donate Life Rose Parade float in 2014 as living donors to Craig. Justin donated a kidney to Craig in 2012. It truly was the walk of a lifetime as we joined eight other living donors who walked 5 miles to show the power of living donations and the fact that we were able to walk a 5-mile parade route.

Then there was the Ragnar relay race, when I joined a group of 12 who walked and ran as living donors in the event named, “Have you seen my kidney?” We took turns walking and running from Huntington Beach to San Diego in a 24-hour period—a little under 200 miles. It was truly teamwork and passion for one another that we were able to complete the relay. It challenged my mind and my body and I felt the pressure as others relied on me to go the distance.

One of the most incredible walks that challenged Craig and I to the core was when we registered to walk a half-marathon! Never in my wildest dreams did I think we could walk 13.1 miles together, but we did. It was an amazing accomplishment! We trained together for several months; it was great to have a goal to work toward as we felt our bodies improve week by week.

We feel it in our relationship when we do not walk. And, as we get into our older years, I can say that motivating each other to keep walking is a daily challenge, but we do our best. We truly believe in the benefits of walking for our health, and for our emotional and mental well-being.

We hope to see you out on a walk!

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Kathleen Hostert has been married for over 35 years to her husband Craig. She was able to give her husband a kidney in 1998, and in 2012 Craig received a second kidney, donated by his son. This new journey inspired Kathleen and Craig to do all that they can to inspire and educate the community on the importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation. Together, they founded the Donate Life Run/Walk which just completed the 18th annual event, with over 126,000 attendees over the years.