Seven years have passed since Fran Katz first donned her running shoes. However, these are no ordinary running shoes. These shoes have been places most of us dare not go. For example, she has already competed in three of the prestigious Boston Marathons and the New York City Marathon, and ran a personal best 3 hours 27 minutes in the 2005 Tucson Marathon. While competing in the New York City Marathon, Fran managed to take 33rd in her age group (40-44) and 243 among all women with a time of 3 hours and 28 minutes.
A veteran of nine marathons in her short running career including "back home" in New York City twice (she moved to Arizona at age nine), she will be back for her third Boston Marathon. "I'm energetic with a Type-A personality" Fran asserts. "I set goals and try to achieve them. I work hard, play hard, and volunteer hard." When it comes to running, "I love the personal challenge," she says. "I enjoy how I feel when I'm running. I am competitive, but I'm competitive with myself. At a marathon, my goal is to finish and do well. Right now, I feel lucky, I feel great," she said and admits she breaks a few of the rules by defying the definition of what good nutrition is- she likes Twinkies, Good 'n Plenty and Diet Coke.
After a marathon, Katz looks for her family, who are waiting for her in the family greeting area. She carries a cell phone in her fanny pack (along with Advil, water and gummy bears) in case she can't find them in the crowd-a lesson she learned after her first marathon.
Fran Katz Off-Road: Running may be a big part of her life, but "most important, I'm a mom and a wife who prides herself on her integrity," says Fran. "My kids are my number one priority. In fact, I'll start running as early as 4:40 a.m. to affect my family as little as possible. I rarely run later than 6:00 a.m. I try hard not to impact my family with my craziness," she laughs. Fran is the National Sales Manager for Tucson Lifestyle Magazine: "I've been at the magazine for 22 years. We're like a family. My associates have been very supportive and have embraced my running."
If all that wouldn't wear out your shoes, in her "spare" time, she is very much involved with volunteer activities. "I'm currently vice-president of the Jewish Community Center. I'm a past president of Hillel, on the board of the Jewish Federation, past member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet for United Jewish Communities, and I'm in charge of video and photography for the Race for the Cure in Tucson." Fran also is on the executive committee of the Breast Cancer Boot Camp, past chair of the Jewish/Latino Coalition (part of the Jewish Community Relations Council where she is currently Chair), one of the campaign chairs for the Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, recently elected to the National Women's Philanthropy Board of the United Jewish Communities and was honored in 2002 as Jewish Woman of the Year. In 1998 she received the Gary I. Sarver Young Woman of the Year honor from the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, and the Women of Valor Award presented by Jewish Family and Children Services.
She has no plans to stop running. "I will run as 'long as I can," she states. Besides keeping her extremely fit, running also has its advantages when traveling, she notes. "If you're in a different city, you just put on your running shoes and go. You get to see so much." For Katz, running is just part of her life, but it is well related to her overall theme: always on the go. Listing her volunteer and business concerns, including ownership with husband Jeff Katz and Paolo DeFillipis of the Chopped Restaurant, is a breathless endeavor in and of itself.
Written By: Kristen Cameron