Marine Veteran Runs 60K on 60th Birthday in Support of Women Vets

by Matthew Memrick

One Missouri veteran completed his quest to run a 60K and support women veterans on his 60th birthday.

Karl Keltner, also known as K2 or Koach Karl, finished Friday night with 37.2 miles under his belt. Or vest, rather.

But that’s not all that was amazing about the run.

The runner celebrated his birthday running his route while wearing a 20-pound weight vest. The former marine ran to bring attention to veterans transitioning from war zones to life at home in the United States.

The weight, he said, represents that burden that many will not understand.

“If I can take that selfishness and silliness, if you will, and transfer that to helping other people, it’s just a gift from God,” Keltner told KMBC.

Keltner also supports Smithville, Ks.-based Valor Ranch, which helps veterans with no-to-low cost living, transportation, and employment needs.  

“You can’t focus on the little bit of pain you’re going through,” Keltner said. “Because it’s nothing compared to the trouble our troops go through.

His route included veteran memorials in Kansas and Missouri. The Valor Ranch Facebook page followed Keltner’s run with photo posts.

“Seriously y’all, this man completed 37.2 miles….on his birthday,” Valor Rance founder Debbie Childress posted on Facebook after Keltner finished his colossal run. “Isn’t that how everybody celebrates their birthday?!? He fought through a lot to complete this endurance run, and we think he’s pretty amazing!! Now….tomorrow morning, we jump! So excited!”

Childress alluded to Keltner’s grand finale, which likely takes place Saturday. The man will skydive as his final birthday feat.

Marine Veteran No Stranger to Running

According to a 2007 Lawrence Journal-World story, the former marine is all about endurance running.

While living in Liberty, Kansas, the man became known for his running feats.

Keltner has completed 16 Olympic-distance triathlons, ridden a bike close to 300 miles in one event, and run the grueling 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon. Twice. The article mentions he planned to run 26 marathons in 26 days at one point in the Kansas City area.

At the time, the personal trainer and running coach told the paper he was “just an average guy.”

Keltner went on to say he came from a bodybuilding background. He said he thought he’d die in his first marathon race. Afterward, he changed his mind, thinking he could do better “than that.”

In the article, Keltner gave a telling quote about his running future 14 years ago.

“It seems like I’m feeling better mentally each day,” he said. “How long can that last? I don’t know. Am I going to crack halfway through and not want to run another step? I don’t know. But I don’t attempt anything I think I can’t do. I plan to succeed. I don’t plan to fail.”