For every year we have been in business, Bramble Berry has donated a portion of our profits to local charitable organizations and non-profits (see our Social Responsibility Statement here). Last year for the first time ever we decided to bring our friends, blog readers and customers, in on the charitable contribution action with the start of Bramble Berry Athletic Club. 2012 was super fun (and successful) so a 2013 was a no-brainer. We recently we announced BBAC’s Sponsored Athletes for 2013. If you missed the announcement, check it out here.
BBAC’s inaugural year brought together 11 sensational athletes. So far we’ve shared the stories of team members Harmony Davis, Bonnie Garrity, and Andrea Edgar. Today’s story is from Kerri Kretzmeier, BBAC sponsored athlete who ran her second ever marathon while wearing her custom BBAC t-shirt with pride! Prepare to be inspired.
How did you get into soap making?
I actually got into soap making because of my strong desire to become more self sufficient. I became intrigued with cheese making originally and decided I needed a cow. Being that I grew up in the city, and was now married to a cowboy who grew up on a cattle ranch, he decided I should start with dairy goats. His first comment to me about milking animals was, “You do realize you have to milk them 365 days a year?” So, I started milking goats and needed something to do with all my excess milk. I make, almost exclusively, goats milk based soaps as I love that I know exactly what I’m putting in to my soaps.
Why did you want to become part of Bramble Berry’s Athletic Club?
I received the email with this exciting opportunity and to tell you the truth it was almost surreal. Not often do I have the opportunity to blend my different passions or hobbies. I am the mother to three of the most beautiful, inspiring children. Over the course of the past 12 years, I have managed to make every excuse to not make fitness a priority. However, as I am quickly approaching 40, I have come to realize that I am no longer invincible and that there were no more excuses to allow the extra “baby fat” to stick around. To me, your health is so important, and while I have been blessed to not have any ailments or diseases due to the 50 extra pounds I have been carrying around, I realized several months ago that the decision to be fit and healthy lies solely with me. Several months ago I met a marathon training coach who inspired me to train for a marathon, even though at the time I did not consider myself a runner. In fact, up until then, I truly believed that one should only run when chased.
Tell us about the race!
As for my race, the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon, it was a challenge. First, I should tell you that I ran my first marathon, The Chosen in New Braunfels, Texas just two weeks before the San Antonio Marathon. The course at that marathon was a hilly out and back course with long stretches of hills on miles 21-24. Needless to say, it was extremely hard on my body. I was looking forward to the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon, because the course was to be flat, which was awesome after the hills I encountered just two weeks before. I should note here, most people would probably ask why one would run two marathons within two weeks, but it qualified me to join a special group known as the Marathon Maniacs!
The race in San Antonio was extremely large with approximately 30,000 runners participating. The energy was amazing with music and live bands almost every mile of the race. I was blessed to run with my awesome running partner, who happened to be a seasoned marathoner. The weather for the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon is known to be unpredictable and often unseasonably warm. This year proved no different. The weather was humid and hot, with temperatures reaching near 80! Runners were staggering, falling, being taken away by ambulance. Thanks to my running partner, Suzanne, we stopped at every medical tent along the way and grabbed a bag of ice that we shoved under our arm pits trying to keep our blood cool so that we could finish the race. It was grueling, I won’t lie, but we finished with a time of 6:46 which is much slower than I had wanted. But, ultimately, my goals were to finish in the upright position, under the allowed course time and to not be last. I met all of those goals. I am hooked on marathons and will definitely be running more. What made the marathon even more awesome was that they allowed kids to participate. They encourage the youth to be fit by allowing them to slowly complete the first 25.2 miles prior to the race, and on race day all the kids gather together and race the last mile. Every single kid. Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to run for the Bramble Berry Athletic Club.
What was your charity and how did you pick it?
I was so super excited to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon because it benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which is an integral part of breast cancer research. I am the granddaughter of a breast cancer survivor as well as the daughter of a breast cancer victim. I have personally seen first hand how this disease can physically and emotionally tear down a person. Unfortunately, my kids have found this out first hand. They will never know the magic of Nana’s lap, or be spoiled with endless Popsicles of summer or to hold the hands that loved me all my life. Those moments were stolen by an ugly disease that unfortunately and statistically speaking will probably touch our family again.
What is your all-time favorite Bramble Berry product?
Bramble Berry Fragrance Oils are some of my favorite to use as they stick around and last longer then any other I have ever tried.
Thank you for being a part of Bramble Berry Athletic Club, Kerri!