LUNA Sandals Ambassador - Karen Jackson

LUNA Sandals Ambassador - Karen JacksonLUNA Sandals Ambassador - Karen Jackson

Hometown: Manning, SC

Currently lives in: Santee, SC

Core activities: Being a mom to two adult children (Kyle, 24 & Sallie, 21) and  Running, mostly ultra distance but will really run anything that sounds fun

Can otherwise be found: At Santee Hardware, my family's business.  I love spending time with my regular customers on the sales floor and also have recently immersed myself in upgrading our store in every way, from product mix to appearance to software.

What tip would you give to someone just getting into running? Take your time.  Find what type of running you really enjoy.  "Running" doesn't have to mean racing, although it certainly can include that.  Don't let anyone else's definition of what running is, (pace, distance, surface, etc...) cloud your view of what you're doing as long as you enjoy it.  If it's not fun, you won't stick with it long term.

Fun fact: In high school my least favorite part of playing sports was running laps during training.

Fell in love with (ultra) running: Started running originally when my kids were young because it was cheap & convenient exercise. Eventually found my way to some local 5k & 10k events.  Didn't catch the marathon bug until I was 40 and ran my 1st 26.2.  But in 2011, at 42,  I signed up for a trail 50k on a whim because it was on a Sunday & fit my schedule.  Since then I've run only 5 or 6 marathons but over 100 ultramarathons. The atmosphere and spirit are so different from shorter road events.

Favorite places: Outside! Mountains, Beach, Trail, Road... just fresh air!

Loves to eat: Yes?

Go-to LUNA Sandal Model: Right now my favorite is the Oso 2.0 Flaco. They're super light & flexible yet really durable.  I just ran the Vol State 314 Mile Road Race in them.  They had a few good miles of both trail & road on them already but they held up great to Tennessee hot asphalt.

Pets: 3 cats: Mr. Otis & his sister Riley, Maine Coon mix and Bugsy, domestic gray & black tabby with special needs that we found abandoned in the lumber yard as a kitten. 2/3 dogs: Cody - Catahoula Mix and Mabel - Chihuahua mix.  I'm also currently dog-sitting my son's Terrier/Hound mix, Woodson, while he has a fence put up at his new house. They are all rescues.

Met LUNA: I was already minimalist, wearing mostly Vibram 5 Fingers but was still not 100% happy with them for a couple of reasons, first due to issues on some surfaces and second that I still wanted my toes to actually be free and uncovered. I had seen people running in sandals but they did not seem very thin-soled or flexible, which I'd become used to the VFF's.  My mom will tell you that as a kid almost the only shoes she could get me to wear were thong sandals and I destroyed several pair a year playing in them outside.  I was thrilled when I ran across Luna in an on-line search one day.  Ordered a pair.  Let them sit for a while.  Realized I ordered the wrong size but they exchanged them very quickly.  Started wearing them just walking around.  The first time I ran in them I ran 43 miles to celebrate my 43rd birthday.  This October 9th I will be 48, so it will be my 5 year Lunaversary as well. In addition to countless "standard distance" races & events, I've worn them for a 250k, 6 cross-state multi-days of 300 miles or more and about 20 100 mile or longer.

Superstitions: Running superstition:  It's bad ju-ju to wear event-related merchandise (like t-shirt or hat) during or before I've completed the event.  Daily life weird habits: I don't like my food to touch. I don't chew gum.

Loves LUNA because: First of all, they're made right here in the USA. How can you NOT love that? But as a runner, specifically, I tell people all the time that I don't know how to explain what it's like to not think about your feet.  If you run in traditional shoes you always think about how something is pinching or rubbing or slipping or just plain hurts after a while.  My feet are just so happy.

Bucket list items: To still be able to do this at 80.

Spirit animal: La Mariposa (Maria Walton) called me "zorro gris," Gray Fox or Silver Fox, in Urique a couple years ago. Amazing experience.

Childhood dream occupation: Veterinarian

Follow on Instagram: @karenrunsfar