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Meet Karen Thibodeaux of Your Sporting Image in Lewisville

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Thibodeaux.

Karen has been a lover of the sport of running since 1985. After watching the 1984 Olympic Marathon for Women and seeing the amazing Joan Benoit (now Samuelson) win the gold medal in the marathon, Karen decided she could win a gold medal and decided to train. At the time, Karen smoked two packs of mentholated cigarettes a day. After a few times around the block, she decided that things were not going as well as planned. By 1985, Karen had “kicked the habit” and started a new one. Her first 5k was on Allen Parkway in Houston, and was run entirely on the “hills”. After suffering severe shin splints and being unable to walk for several days, she decided to “hire” a coach named Al Lawrence (a bronze medalist in the Olympic 10,000 – 1956) and told him she wanted to qualify for the Olympics someday! With nothing but amazing encouragement from Al for many years, Karen finally ran a 3:35:09 Marathon at White Rock in Dallas, qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 1989. She has won two races overall – in Houston and Orange, and boasts a 6:11 mile. She qualified, in her first triathlon, for the National Championships Las Vegas in 1990. After a disappointing DNF in the hills, she decided that watching this event was more fun! As one of the original members of the Al Lawrence Running Club, she still participates in club meetings, and in the running community as a volunteer for the Houston Marathon (20 years). With encouragement from her daughter, Jennifer, and friends in the running community, she decided to start Your Sporting Image by Karen Thibodeaux. Fifteen years LATER – Well, we are still going strong only in the DFW area. We do still travel around the US shooting races. While other companies who started around the same time as I have folded, we continue to build even when the cell phone industry is slowing degrading the camera business. We like to think that in all these years we have really captured the market for the best photos for running, biking and swimming. Karen’s love of the sport has never declined and only wishes she could still participate!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, not smooth at all! Every step of the way there were obstacles. Competition was slow in coming in the early years, then a big slap in the face once everyone learned how to use the digital camera. Then the Cell Phone camera – well those folks run with those! And, thus the business takes a hit. I would say that the biggest struggle is just keeping up with the technology.

Please tell us about Your Sporting Image.
We specialize in running events and triathlons. We like to focus on mid-size to large events, with 1,000 – 20,000 people. While the larger sized events require an extreme amount of planning, we like to stay with the events that don’t overburden us with details. Most days we just want to shoot! And, that’s what we do best. I am extremely proud to say that I have helped a lot of up and coming photographers learn to shoot sports like a professional! Part of photography is mentoring, and I like to think that some of my hard work paid off and helped others by teaching them a different photography skill. We hire mostly professionals, but not all have been experienced in this type of shooting. I think this company has an advantage as almost all of our employees are runners or triathletes. So, we all know what we like in photos!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I like that we have more than a handful of races every weekend in this area! And, I like that least about us too! The time has come when major cities now hold so many events every weekend, that it’s has caused most of the races to become very small. Participation is more spread out, and grabbing those events that are large is what we need to do to stay in business.

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