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Infected with enthusiasm: PT student Kallner prepares for Carver Black and Gold Mile Run

Date: Thursday, August 5, 2021

Running comes naturally to Ali Kallner, a second-year physical therapy student in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

Kallner, who ran track in high school and as an undergraduate at Colorado State University, cites her family as the reason for her athleticism, saying that her parents have always been very active and encouraged the same in her from a young age.

The Phoenix, Arizona, native spends much of her time training for triathlons or other running events. She likes to wake up early each day and work out, Kallner says, and cook her own meals full of nutrition to stay in shape. It requires extra effort—especially with a busy schedule—but building the habit is worth it, she says.

“I always make time to work out, just to use it as a stress outlet and to make me feel more focused and energized throughout the day,” Kallner says. “It really works wonders.”

Ali Kallner, photo
Ali Kallner smiles after the one mile race.

In September, Kallner will participate in the fourth annual Carver Black and Gold Mile Run, an event that seeks to encourage healthy habits and lifestyle choices among medical students and health care professionals, with scholarship awards given to the winners in each of the race categories.

Kallner, who placed first in the women’s 1-mile run last year with a time of 5 minutes, 21.87 seconds, will serve as an ambassador this year, helping to plan and promote the run.

She is most excited to meet and run alongside the college’s incoming classes and other participants who may have not taken part in the run before. While the run is more of a “pick-me-up” for Kallner—who will participate in the Chicago Marathon this fall—than it is a challenge, she understands the same may not be true for everyone. 

Members of the college who feel less confident about participating should not count themselves out, however, Kallner says. If they just take some time in the weeks leading up to the run to start getting in shape, she says they should be more than prepared to run the mile.

I think it’s really surprising what you can do, even if it’s just a mile, surrounded by all your friends and teachers.


Interacting with both her peers and professors outside of the classroom is one of Kallner’s favorite aspects of the run. When the women aren’t on the track, they get to cheer on the men, and vice versa.

Although there is some friendly competition between students in the MD, PT (physical therapy), and PA (physician assistant) programs, Kallner says the event overall focuses on camaraderie.

“The overlap between different sectors is great, because we can all probably benefit from some interdisciplinary friendship,” she says.

Kallner also enjoys how the run sets an example on the importance of exercise for the community. Exercise is an essential form of medicine, Kallner says, and she appreciates the emphasis Carver puts on maintaining one’s physical and mental health—both for students and the patients they will care for someday.

It’s especially inspiring to see how leaders within the college prioritize staying in shape individually and through events like the Black and Gold Mile Run, Kallner says.

“One of the best things a health care provider can do is provide a good example for patients in our community, and I feel so lucky to be part of a college that recognizes and rewards and encourages that kind of thing,” Kallner says. “I get so infected by peoples’ enthusiasm at the run, and there’s just a lot of great energy.”

The Carver Black and Gold Mile run will take place Sunday, Sept. 12. Students in the Carver College of Medicine’s MD, PA, or PT programs.