I first met Karen Chavez atop Wayah Bald on a frigid, snowy morning in 2001. She was a newspaper reporter covering the inaugural NOC Endurance Run and she had driven two hours up slick, steep, snow-covered roads to reach the finish line, where she spent several hours talking to me and other runners. She could have stayed home, called a few runners after the race, and cranked out a decent story. But she went the extra miles to be there in person, in sub-freezing temperatures, bundled up with her notepad and pen.
That’s just how Karen rolls. For over 14 years, she has been writing about the outdoor scene by immersing herself in it. An avid and accomplished runner herself, she is beloved among the regional outdoor community for her tireless coverage in the Asheville Citizen-Times of important outdoor issues and inspiring people.
Last fall, Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the past year, she has endured multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. Amazingly, she continues to write.
Next month, she is even planning a race: the Karen Kicks Cancer Resolution Run and Walk on January 1 in Asheville. Proceeds from the four-mile run and two-mile walk will benefit Hope Chest for Women. Karen also hopes the event will raise awareness about the importance of understanding breast density as a risk factor for breast cancer. Dense breasts can obscure mammograms and make cancer detection more difficult.
Join her at the New Year’s Day run for a celebration of what she loves most: being outdoors, being active, and being alive.