Stretched to Sketch

Holly Spencer - Garmin Marathon



Sidelined by surgery she rediscovered her love of sketching.

It all started with Tom Leddy who wore a Dorothy costume for the 2016 Garmin Marathon in the land of Oz race April 16th, 2016.



I followed him on Instagram @tomruns_262 and he posted a drawing of him at our race. I thought “WOW!” this drawing is really great and I wanted to know who drew this great piece of art the highlighted our race. I found @millfeatherstudio on Instagram by Holly Spencer.

Holly Spencer - Finish Line close up

I was blown away, and found other art by her of other races too. I messaged Holly and asked if I could do something special for her, since she did such a special job at capturing our race in wonderful artwork. She wrote up her story and sent it to me. She seems to have turned something that would have kept her on the sideline for good into something wonderful. I read her story and thought with my silly sense of humor that she grew mentally, emotionally and she must have also gotten physically taller. 🙂

Bubba Gaeddert

Garmin Marathon Race Director



This is her story below…



My running career began sort of by accident in the fall of 2006. I had just started a job as an elementary art teacher in the fall of 2005, and my body reacted to the stresses of my new job by giving me hives every single day! I was pretty miserable to say the least, so when school let out that spring, I decided to walk a local 4 mile trail everyday to reduce my stress levels. It worked almost immediately, and I spent the summer logging walking miles. Then, as fall came and the days began to get shorter, I began jogging to get around the wooded trail before it got too dark to see!  That was it! I was hooked!

“That was it! I was hooked!”

For two years I ran and I entered into local races until in July of 2008 I was sidelined with a severe IT Band injury.  I was born with a hereditary spinal deformity that causes a lot of nerve pain in my back and legs, and because of my compromised spine it was extremely hard for me to recover from my ITBS. I ended up having to have surgery to lengthen the bands on both of my legs!

“surgery to lengthen the bands on both of my legs”

My full recovery took two whole years, and it was during my recovery that I rediscovered my love of sketching and journaling. I kept sketches and logs and journals of my entire recovery process. These journals and sketchbooks really helped me with the depression of being sidelined with injury. When I was fully healed in 2010, and began racing again, I decided to try and continue making my sketching a priority. I race a lot and traveling to races is one of my favorite things to do, my husband Nathan shares our running adventures on instagram @milesatthemill.  One of my running goals is to run a marathon or half in every state, I have ran 66 half marathons and 2 full marathons, and countless shorter races.




I have ran Garmin half marathon four times and I love it! Now, when I am traveling to races I bring my sketchbook with me and document my experiences! Last summer I decided to step out of my comfort zone and start sharing and selling prints of my sketches on instagram @millfeatherstudio.  I have met a lot of really great people on Instagram, and who knows, if I see you at a race, you may just end up in my sketchbook!


Holly Spencer




1 thought on “Stretched to Sketch

  • This is incredible!!!! What a great role model and inspiration to all that may have trouble getting out and getting going with their daily excercise!! And such awesome sketches!!

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