There may not be cake for Sara Hendley when she turns 30 on Friday, but there will be running.
Lots and lots of running.
That's because Hendley (BS '08, MEd '12) made a promise to herself to run 30 miles on her 30th birthday. Granted, she's not racing to beat a particular time—as a personal trainer she's fit, but hasn't been training for this day. Instead, she's hoping her extensive 6 a.m. workout will inspire others to take part in an activity that day, too.
Ten days ago she upped the ante even more, asking for donations to support Action for Healthy Kids. She's now nearly $500 above her goal of $3,000.
"Before I went to get my master's I was working in a corporate fitness setting, but I realized my passion is to work with kids," said Hendley, who has two degrees in kinesiology—a bachelor's with an emphasis in physical therapy and a master's in pedagogy. "I've always had this passion; when I was doing my undergrad it was for physical therapy, and then I said, 'You know, I want to work with someone before they need physical therapy.'
"Moving your body and learning to enjoy moving your body is so important."
Until recently, Hendley was a fitness instructor at Blast in Atlanta. Now she is trying to find a way to combine adult fitness with helping kids become more active.
For her 30th birthday, Hendley plans to run a 15-mile loop twice through metro Atlanta. She has friends stationed along the way for support, offering to run and chat to help break up the distance.
She tells herself it's not 30 miles, but six 5-mile runs.
"One of my friends has taken the day off of work; she's going to do a couple water stations, and she's going to be tweeting where I'm at," added Hendley. "I've been so active for the past three years and I love running, so my goal is to make it more of a social thing. I have friends and colleagues coming to run with me. The goal is to be able to talk while we're running."
Hendley hopes her birthday run will inspire others to get active. For example, one of her friends who isn't usually into exercise offered to run a mile with her. That's a present for her as well as others, she said.
"I don't like celebrating my birthday, so I don't want to make it a big thing."
Follow Hendley on Twitter and Instagram at @sarahendley23, and look for the hashtag #30onthirty.