My running story began in January of 2001. With encouragement from my cousin, Monica Pemberton, I joined a local running group called the Trekos I was 40 years old and had not ever done any running before. The group was preparing for the Triple Crown races, and we met every Saturday for group runs. The Trekos leader kept moving me up into faster pace groups as the weeks progressed. I still wasn’t sure how all of this training was going to play out. But after completing the Rodes City Run, the Papa John’s Ten-Miler, and the Mini-Marathon, I began to feel that I had found a sport that I really enjoyed. Now my focus shifted to a higher goal---a 26.2 mile marathon. In January of 2002, I completed my first marathon at Walt Disney World. I was surprised to learn that my time had qualified me for Boston. In April of 2003, I ran my first Boston Marathon. I went back to Boston two more times. On each occasion, both my Mom and Dad were cheering me on at the finish line. While the Las Vegas and Flying Pig Marathons are two of my favorite venues, I feel most passionate about the many and varied Disney races I have participated in. However, the half-marathon is my favorite distance.
My best marathon time has been 3:15:12.
My best half-marathon time has been 1:30:35.
My best 5K time has been 19:22.
For the last six years, I have enjoyed being part of an amazing group of runners that make up our Bourbon Chase team. It is a 200 mile relay event, stretching from Jim Beam in Clermont and following the Bourbon Trail to Lexington, Ky.
By profession, I am a first grade teacher of 36 years in the Jefferson County Public Schools at Foster Traditional Academy. My advice to the running/walking community would be the same advice that I try to instill in my 6 and 7 year old students: always strive for excellence in all you do; set goals; reach for the stars; keep a positive outlook; and never give up.
Through the River City Racing events, I have been able to form and build lasting friendships with the local running community. I am so very grateful to all who have encouraged me over the past 17 years. I have found that the River City Racing events are well organized, racing results are promptly recorded, and wonderful staff members make everyone feel welcome and special.
So as I close, I encourage runners, as I do my class of first graders, to always challenge yourself to do your best. You may not always win, and everything will not be easy, but if you do your best, then there will be some positive results.
Dr. Seuss sums it up well:“You’re off to great places!Today is your day!Your mountain is waiting.So get on your way!”Whatever, that mountain is for you;AIM HIGH.It’s different for each person, but will represent a big goal in your life that is going to take strength, perseverance, and an I CAN DO IT attitude to accomplish.