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Blog Feature: Lindsay Walter

We are SUPER PUMPED to feature Lindsay Walter on the blog today. Lindsay is a remarkable woman who carries a beautiful and inspiring story. She is a phenomenal runner seeking to change the lives of others. Lindsay has been featured in Runner's World Magazine, POPSUGAR, Self Magazine, and in many other articles. Lindsay is also an ambassador for Nuun Hydration, Rabbit, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Read more about her story and her running career below!

"If I could tell my younger self anything it would be to dream all of the big dreams, to

work hard every single day in everything, to never let anyone make me feel like I

don’t deserve what I really want and to always believe in myself.


I lost all of my hair at age 2, due to the autoimmune condition, Alopecia. It was really

tough growing up hiding behind a wig, being bullied and teased all of the time for

the way my hair (wig) looked, my lack of eyebrows (now are tattooed on) and

missing eyelashes. When you lose your hair it also means losing apart of you. I didn’t

know anyone else who had Alopecia. This made me feel like I was all alone, an

outcast, and a constant reminder of how different I was than all my peers.


When kids would call me names I wouldn’t say anything back, or tell the teachers

because I felt like I deserved it. I truly felt like I was ‘ugly’ or ‘looked like a boy’. I was

so self conscious of the way I looked and turned very quiet and reserved. My

Alopecia held me back, and made me fearful of so much. I would say no to activities

and opportunities for the fear of being exposed, or someone finding out about my

condition.


Life continued on like this, but I had found one silver living; my athletic ability and

love for the game of basketball. This became my escape. I would work hard in

school, and then as soon as I got home shoot hoops in my driveway pretending like I

didn’t have Alopecia. I would dream of making the game winning shot, the crowd

would go wild and chant my name. I dreamed of playing college basketball, and

didn’t think of my Alopecia. I learned to work hard everyday and to dream big

during this. My dreams came true after a record breaking high school year I was

blessed to receive several scholarship offers to play in college, a dream come true.


When I went to college I was still very much hiding under my wig, only telling a few

close teammates. It was hard to navigate all of this in college with all of the other

changes that are happening. However, during this time I finally began to accept my

reality I didn’t want to for so many years. My hair was never coming back, and I

needed to learn to be ok with it. This was also the same season I decided to run my

first marathon. I was never a runner. In fact, the mile in gym class was dreadful for

me. It wasn’t because I couldn’t run the distance, but because I just didn’t like to run.

But, I am a competitive person by nature and my college town of Duluth, Minnesota

has the infamous Grandma’s Marathon every summer I had always watched (mostly

hanging out at the finish with friends). I was so inspired by all of the runners, their

smiles and emotions of the finish and knew I wanted to cross this off my bucket list.




My 1st marathon I toed the line, undertrained, unprepared, but starting myself on the

greatest journey of my life. Running down the streets along Lake Superior I felt so

strong, empowered and apart of a community. I have come to love the diversity of

the running community so much. We all look and train differently, have various

goals, but yet all have one thing in common; finishing the race.


I will never forget the feeling when I crossed the finish line, exhausted, overcome

with emotion and so happy. I was a marathoner and felt like a true super woman.

After this I was inspired and began to run marathons all over the country. I loved the

feeling of being in a new city, no one knew me or about my Alopecia, and I was

racing against myself. Every finish line was giving me more confidence and helping

me realize just how strong I truly am. One day on a long 20-mile run, I was so

overcome with emotion of strength, empowerment and courage that I took off my

wig mid-run. My eyes were full of tears, it was a moment I had always dreamed of. I

knew I was going to be ok and was finally the Lindsay I was always meant to be.


I went on to continue to run marathons without my wig and live my life in my truest

form, bald head out shining for the world to see. I was worried about the whole

world seeing my bald head, and for all of those people who were mean to me

growing up what they would say, or what people would think of me. But, the biggest

lesson I have learned and am thankful for is that my Alopecia is the greatest filter for

people and relationships who are not meant for me. People can be unkind, and

though it hurts I know who I am and how strong I truly am.


Alopecia has become the greatest gift I never knew I needed. It has made me

empathetic, strong, and inspired to help others. I have started a pen pal program for

children/teens with Alopecia, to be that person for someone that I needed when I

was younger. I am so thankful to have found my love of running and all that it has

brought to my life. All of the finish lines, the people I have met, and small moments

are something I will always treasure. I love the running community, the support and

inspiration I have found.


My biggest take away from my journey is to dream big, set big goals and to go after

all of the things you want in life. It is so important to be your own biggest fan, and to

do things for you, because then you will always win. I have run 41 marathons, one 50

miler and I am aiming to finish a 100-mile ultra next year. I never thought I would be a runner, or that this would be my life, but it is more magical than I ever could of imagined, I

feel like I am just getting started. I don’t always succeed, or accomplish my goal, but

I never quit, always get back out there and keep dreaming, and for that I am so

thankful."


-Lindsay Walter


Check out other articles and podcasts about Lindsey!


Start-Her Running Company

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