HERO: Running to make a difference in girls' lives

By Bill Murphy, Everyday Hero Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, October 31, 2016, 2:01 PM EDT

A University of Tampa professor is running her way into the hearts of young girls.

  • Avid runner Dr. Kathryn Branch is part of Girls on the Run
  • Group uses running to inspire young girls to be healthy and confident

A natural born runner, Dr. Kathryn Branch is department head and an associate professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at UT. And she's not just a runner, she's an ultra runner. 

"Ultra runners are just runners that do anything over marathon distances," Branch said. "Which is 26.2 miles."

Branch is taking her running to the next level as she preps for a 100-mile race in January. 

"I'm going to be running a 100-mile trail race," Branch said, while clarifying one major detail about the race. "I do run it all in the same time frame (but) I'll have 32 hours to complete the race. I get that question a lot." 

Branch said she is using the race as a vehicle to raise funds for Girls on the Run, an after school program that uses running to inspire young girls to be healthy, confident and joyful.  

The group is dedicated to creating an environment where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. 

Branch's own goals for her upcoming race are just as bold: A sponsor for each of the 100 miles she's running. 

"I don't know if I think of myself as a hero," Branch said. "But it's nice to know that I made a difference and that somebody sees that. Definitely, I feel blessed." 

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