Pamela Hansen started the Running with Angels 5k in 2005, and continues to be involved each year. But her story begins on a morning in April 2001, when she did something she hadn't done for a very long time: she took a walk. Her simple 10 minute walk was the beginning of an amazing journey that ultimately led to a 100-pound weight loss (without surgery or pills) and the fulfillment of her dream to run a marathon — all in just over one year.

The Journey

As Pam took that first walk, she was fearful that she would not be able to take more than a few steps because of her weight. Yet, she had to try because she was desperate to focus her attention on something other than the tragedies of her life—the death of a twin infant daughter, the debilitating autoimmune diseases that had attacked two other children, and finally the stillbirth of a son just a few weeks earlier.

Whether it was suffering through humiliation at a local grocer's check-out line, or agonizing over hurtful comments and laughter from strangers, Pam doesn't hold back in explaining the pain she felt as an obese person.

"When I was 39 years old, I was horrified to realize I weighed one hundred pounds more than when I got married. That is a small, but entire person!" writes Pam.

A Mother

Working through the sadness and grief caused by her two children's deaths and the illnesses her other two children faced brought on her struggle with obesity — she rarely found time for herself. Pam reflects on how her body was not a true reflection of her spirit. She writes: "I loathed looking at myself in the mirror. I was not making the connection that my body was just responding to my actions. For years, I felt as if my heart and mind worked together, but my body seemed to be working against everything I really wanted or knew to be true."

Pam continues to fight the war against obesity, through diligence, persistence, and patience with her own shortcomings. As Pam runs today, she does so with the presence of her two "angel" children at her side.

About the Book

In the book Running with Angels, Pam shares her struggles and success with weight loss, using a marathon as a metaphor for facing life's challenges. She discusses the pain of living life as an obese person and the hopelessness that accompanies it. Pam offers practical suggestions for anyone trying to reach a goal, particularly a weight loss goal, and shows how small steps can help you realize your dreams.

Pam's History

Pam was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and graduated from Brigham Young University. She has taught first and second grades as well as adult ESL classes. She and her husband, Mark, live in Orem, Utah, where they are raising five children. Pam has just finished her third marathon.

In 2005, she received the “Matthew B. Roush Award for Excellence in Contributions to Women’s Health,” given by, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center’s Women’s Advisory Council. She was also recently given the “Beacon of Hope Award” by Intermountain Healthcare’s Urban South Region Governing Board.