By Molly Kirk
Photos by courtesy of Kim Taylor
Kim “Dr. K” Taylor saw the announcement for the Run for the Wild virtual 5K run/walk and knew she wanted to participate. “We’ve had a lot of stress in our life, especially with what’s going on with coronavirus,” Taylor said. “When this popped up, I told me husband, we need to do this. We need to get out and this is a chance for us to do it.”
Taylor, who works as a doctor and has been working treating COVID-19 patients, completed the Run for the Wild virtual 5K at English Park in her hometown of Altavista, Virginia. The park lies on the banks of the Roanoke River, and Taylor was able to see plenty of wildlife on her way. “It was a new park I hadn’t been to. I ran it, and my husband and brother-in-law walked it,” she said. “I saw a bear cub, but I couldn’t get a picture of it. We saw a black snake and a deer, and multiple butterflies and birds. It was beautiful scenery that I didn’t even know existed just 2 miles from my home. We’ve been so worried about the coronavirus, and for two months I was working 24/7. I have a grandson who’s sick that we take care of. There’s so much stress. But when we went down there, for those two hours, I didn’t even know the world existed.”
There was a brief intrusion of the real world onto Taylor’s Run for the Wild route, however. A crane that had been in action for construction on the expansion of English Park tipped over, and a town worker who knew Taylor was a doctor called her over to check out the operator. The man wasn’t injured badly, and Taylor was able to continue on her run after checking him out quickly.
For Taylor, the chance to benefit the Department of Wildlife Resources’ (DWR) Restore the Wild campaign, which funds projects to improve wildlife habitat, was a priority. “It made me feel like I’m doing something good for a good cause that I believe in and that I want to support. If you treat nature well, it’s going to treat you well back,” she said. Taylor is an avid watcher of the DWR Richmond falcon live-stream. Taylor’s family was always involved in outdoor activities, but when her son became a serious bird-watcher in his youth, her connection to the outdoors grew. “We’d go on bird walks together as a family, and he knows all the bird songs in the state of Virginia,” she said.
For Taylor, being outdoors has also helped as she’s found her way back to health after a 2013 breast cancer diagnosis. Even though she hadn’t run much before attempting Run for the Wild, she ran the 5K. “It took me a while, but I wanted to stop and look at everything, to appreciate it, she said. “Nature is a healer. Doing Run for the Wild, it was just about being in nature. “Ever since we did that, I’ve been wanting to go do it more. Nature calms me and relaxes me. One thing I always tell my patients is ‘Go outside, close your eyes, and let nature consume you.’ It takes away so much stress.”
The Run for the Wild, a virtual 5K run/walk that took place on July 17-19, benefited DWR’s Restore the Wild membership campaign to protect, maintain, and build habitat for Virginia’s wildlife. Winners of the race will be announced on Wednesday, July 22.