Galvestonian Cat Nowinski can be described by many terms: Emergency room nurse. Marathoner. Running store employee. Triathlete. She’s hoping to add another term to her description soon: Magazine cover model.

Nowinski is a contender in Runner’s World magazine’s search for a runner to feature on the cover of the December issue. The magazine announced that they would choose for the cover a man and a woman who best typified the “runner personality.” 

The entry includes a short essay and one word that best sums up he individual.

“Overcomer,” Nowinski’s chosen word, wasn’t something she crafted just for Runner’s World; she had it tattooed on her wrist as a memento of her triumphs over medical issues, obesity and inactivity.

“Three years ago, I was overweight and unhappy,” Nowinski said. “When I saw people running, I was inspired, and decided I wanted to be a runner. The first time I tried it, I could only run about 30 seconds.”

She began with the Couch to 5k program, and soon completed her first 5k. As she writes in her Runner’s World essay, “When I crossed that finish line, something in me changed. I was no longer that lazy, fat girl. I was a RUNNER.”

Nowinski lost 90 pounds en route to her first marathon, the 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon. She trained for it with Galveston’s USA Fit group. 

“I didn’t realize how supportive the running community is, no matter what your speed or your size,” she said. “I’ve done six of the training programs, three fall marathon trainings and three spring trainings, and they’ve all helped me make progress.”

Nowinski says that being on the cover of Runner’s World would be nice, but her main motivation in entering the contest was to post the essay. “I want to share my story,” she said.”I worked hard to get where I’m at.”

Making the cut for the Runner’s World cover is partially determined by Internet voting. To vote for Cat Nowinski and read her essay, go to Covercontest.runners

Bernice Torregrossa is a five-time marathoner and a water exercise instructor. She can be reached at

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