KARa goucher

 on her Dystonia diagnosis



On Dystonia Call for Action Day, there’s no better person to consult than Kara Goucher. 


As a two-time Olympian, Altra Elite Athlete, and dedicated runner, Kara faced the ultimate devastation when she was diagnosed with Repetitive Movement Dystonia.

One day, Kara was running an eight-mile loop when she suddenly couldn’t stay on her feet. Assuming it was a fluke, she went for another run about a month later and almost fell into oncoming traffic. That’s when Kara knew something was wrong.

After visiting a neurologist and movement specialist, she was diagnosed with a condition she had never heard of: Dystonia. “My first reaction was ‘What is that?’ I went home and Googled ‘runner’s dystopia’ because I couldn’t remember what the specialist said.”

olympian kara goucher on some stone steps

After researching symptoms of Dystonia, Kara knew her specialist had it right. “One of the symptoms is that I can’t feel the feedback that my foot has landed as I’m running. My body reacts as if it didn’t land.”

There is no cure for Dystonia. It’s a forever-diagnosis that may get worse or may get better. There are days where Kara can run effortlessly and days where her body simply won’t cooperate.

For Kara, the hardest part is “…trying to figure out who I am without running. Running is literally my life and I’m not who I am without it.” She appreciates the good days when she can get a few miles in and gives herself grace on days when she simply can’t lace up.

Through the Bachmann-Strauss Fellowship in Dystonia Research, Kara found a community of athletes living with Dystonia. “But we’re all suffering in silence instead of coming together.”

According to Kara, awareness and research are the most important steps forward for those living with Dystonia.

Altra Running is proud to get involved. Stay tuned for a unique (and colorful) opportunity to give back to the Bachmann-Strauss Fellowship in Dystonia Research.

Kara in a running jacket