Off my Butt and onto the Trails – What Got Me There

In 2007 I decided to run my first marathon.  26.2 miles is no walk in the park so aside from crossing something off of my bucket list, what pushed me to actually sign up??  No I didn’t get a discount and in fact I paid about $80 bucks to sign up early!

At the time I was working in the fitness center  at a local retirement community and it was during that time I met Frank.  Frank was in his early 80s, but he was an avid runner.  I was very impressed.  He started running I believe in his late 60s and ran about five marathons mostly during his early 70s.  Not only did he cross the 26.2 finish line every time, but he was able to run an under 4 hour marathon (my dream) and he was about 50 years older than me!!

Now I may be tiny and have short legs, but throughout my life, I’ve been pretty athletic, so I knew it wasn’t impossible. But did I really want to run that far??  When I met Frank, however, and heard his story and how he finished a marathon at my goal time, I knew I had to be up for the challenge.  If not now, then when??!!  That was the beginning of long distance running for me.  When I finished the Marine Corp Marathon in 2007, Frank tracked my time so when I came to work the next week, in my Inbox, I had an email from Frank congratulating me.  In 2008, I decided to run the Marine Corp again. This time I trained mostly on my own, but motivation was not lacking. Frank would come into the fitness center to work out during the week and he’d ask me how much I ran the day before.

Photogenic, huh?

“4 miles” he might say and I knew that I always had to have some report that matched his mileage.   Again when I completed the Marine Corp Marathon in 2008, I came back to work the next week and yet again, Frank had already checked my time. Although I had cut about 10 minutes off my previous time, I remember how he inferred that I could have run faster.  Now that’s a runner.

I no longer work at this retirement community, but occasionally see Frank volunteering at some of the races I run.  Flash forward to this morning when I checked my mail and saw the Montgomery County Road Runners Club Intervals newsletter in my box.  Brought a smile to my face to read “Member Moments.” Check it out!

Frank Pierce, born in 1922, will turn 90 years old on April 6.  Since 1997, Frank has owned the 75+ record for men in the Pike’s Peek 10k. (March 2012 newsletter)

Way to go Frank!