Pamela Harmon Hansen is the inspiration and heart behind the annual Running with Angels 5K race held in the spring at Thanksgiving Point gardens. She is the author of the book Running with Angels: The Inspiring Journey of a Woman Who Turned Personal Tragedy into Triumph Over Obesity (2005).
Hansen was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Brigham Young University. She married Mark Hansen and while they started having children, she taught first and second grades, and adult ESL classes. Through those years, she experienced the death of her infant twin daughter, a stillbirth of a son, and the debilitating autoimmune diseases that afflicted two of her other children, and she gradually gained one hundred pounds. One morning in 2001 she decided to give herself time to take control of her weight and began by walking for ten minutes. From there she gradually increased her distance and set the goal of running a marathon, which she accomplished on July 24, 2002 (the Salt Lake Marathon) and again in 2003 (the St. George Marathon). She often visualized her two angel children running alongside her and encouraging her.
In 2005, she helped host the first annual Running with Angels 5K in Provo Canyon. Proceeds went to the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. The race is now held at Thanksgiving Point and benefits the Angel Watch program, which is part of Women’s Services at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Many participants run in remembrance of a lost infant or child.
In 2005, Hansen was awarded the Matthew B. Roush Award for Excellence in Contributions to Women’s Health, given by the Women’s Advisory Council at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. She was also awarded the Beacon of Hope Award by the Board of Directors, Urban South Region, Intermountain Health Care. She often speaks to groups about running life’s marathons and is a wellness coach.
Hansen and her husband are the parents of five children. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.