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How the Boston Marathon bombing inspired this trainer to help others

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We’re on a mission to recognize the fitness instructors who don’t just look great on Instagram—but actually inspire us to be better. So together with Reebok, we asked you to nominate trainers for the first-ever America’s Most Inspiring Trainer title. After nearly 5,000 entries, we’ve narrowed down the pool to 12 amazing finalists—and now it’s time for you to choose a winner! Learn more about Katie Dolaher below, and cast your vote by December 23. 

Katie Dolaher, Boston, MA

Trainer and cycling instructor at B/SPOKE

Her Mantra

“Live to inspire every day.”

Her Power Jam

“I” – Kendrick Lamar

Her Story

Katie Dolaher basically wrote the book on self transformation. While working as a special-needs schoolteacher, she began teaching fitness classes on the side—and then came the pivotal moment: running her first Boston Marathon.

When a friend asked for Dolaher’s help opening a cycling studio in Boston, she jumped on board despite her job and training schedule—and now she’s there full time.

“The time had come that I could mesh both worlds together—inspiring people to better their lives, as well as challenging myself and my body on a daily basis.”

Her Most Inspiring Moment as a Trainer

“The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing is a moment that changed my life forever,” Dolaher says. “I was about running when the bombs went off. My family was in the explosion—luckily everyone was safe, but I didn’t know that for a long time.”

After the bombing, she stopped working out for six months—but soon decided it was time to lace up again. “I realized that I needed to get back and finish the race for all those who couldn’t. That next marathon was the hardest of my life, but it reaffirmed that it was exactly what I needed to be doing.” And now? She’s run seven.

Her Inspiring Mission

“I just love my job and I love seeing people reach their true potential,” Dolaher says. “I used fitness to overcome obstacles in my life and I want to continue to coach people how to use fitness as a coping strategy to overcome obstacles in theirs.”

The winner of America’s Most Inspiring Trainer will score an exclusive one-year contract with Reebok and major coverage on Well+Good. Cast your vote now!

Photo: Nick Cosky Photography