The KoaKoa Story
How We Got Started
At the risk of sounding dramatic - running literally changed my life. My husband is a recovering alcoholic. He's very open about his story so he doesn't mind me sharing our journey. I met my husband over 10 years ago when he had just started recovery. I wouldn't wish addiction on my worst enemy. It's still a very misunderstood disease and very hard battle to fight. Even to this day he calls himself a recovering alcoholic and not a recovered alcoholic. He still attends meetings every week and is very involved in Recovery.
A few years ago I was away visiting friends when things came to a very bad head while I was there. I was staying with some amazing friends who are runners and was motivated by them to sign up to a 21k. When I got home I found a 21km program online and told my husband about it. He thought I was nuts - but I needed something for myself and I thought he really needed a goal to work towards too.
Running is a form of meditation. When you're out there on the road or trail - you can almost always clear your mind and sort through things. Entering the race was a great way to stay motivated and have a goal to work towards and be motivated to do the training. At the time it felt like one of the hardest things I had ever done but that feeling when we crossed the finish line was incredible.
The running bug bit after that and we've done quite a few marathons, ultras and some amazing trail races in the world. I'm not going to lie and say 'poof' once we started running everything was great and sorted. There were some incredibly difficult times, fights and days I just wanted to stay in bed but having the races to work towards kept us motivated.
My husband is almost 5 years sober now and I know that running plays a huge part of his sobriety (he even ran a marathon in our garden during lockdown for charity). Personally, running plays a big part of my own mental health and definitely helps me deal with stress and anxiety. I can't speak enough on the benefits of running and how much I love it. It really has become a huge part of our lives.
The more time and hours we started spending on the road - the more I realised how important tech running gear is. I spent a lot on high end brands that didn't live up to my expectations. I don't have a thigh gap and I'm not the tallest so leggings would constantly slide down - talk about annoying when you're spending up to 9hrs running...
I started asking around and found so many women who had the same problem so I set out testing different fabrics and designs for ultra running. I quickly realised that if the gear performs for those many hours of running it will be great for pretty much every high impact activity. I wanted gear that was super comfy, stayed in place whether running, squatting or doing yoga - is breathable and moisture wicking (it's no fun when your clothes provide a sweat fest).
My goal with KoaKoa is to build a community of strong women who love to exercise, support each other and create active wear that performs at the highest level. While everyone's goals may be different - there's a common thread of hard work to reach them.
Thank you for sharing your journey (and your husband’s!). My husband is a recovering drug addict (loads of stigma attached to this one too!) and fitness saved his life for sure. They introduced him to fitness while in rehab after he hit rock bottom. He even encouraged me to start moving more, which was tricky as I have a chronic disease called Crohn’s disease and often become bedridden. This led us to a journey where we started running and loved trail running. While we still enjoy running we are both now doing crossfit and both of us are stronger and healthier than we’ve ever been (at 40 years of age!).
Exercise is more valuable than most people realise so thank you for sharing!
Melissa Burmester said:
I absolutely loved reading your story. I have been following your page for a while now and I am so excited about your line.
I, myself, started running and training to overcome major depression disorder and anxiety. Also something many people don’t get and fully understand. Training completely changed my life.
Keep up the great work!
Angela Warren said:
I loved reading through your journey and your goals behind founding this incredible company. I am proud of you B!