By: Linda Sadler
I’ve always wanted to be a runner. After a back injury that made it hard to walk or stand for long periods, I followed the doctor’s orders and recovered. While trying to get to a bank one day, I saw the Country Music Marathon participants. They were of all ages, sizes, and some with disabilities. I decided that if they can do it, so can I. The next year I walked my first half marathon at the age of 57. It was amazing.
Two years later with two half marathon under by belt, I decided to do what the books and magazines suggested – sign up for a 5K race. Racing is now a way of life for me. Five years after walking my first half marathon, I completed my first, and so far only, marathon at the Country Music Marathon at the age of 62. With pain issues beginning at mile 20, I was able to finish. The amazing part is that the “fast people” in my age group either stayed home or dropped out (it was a brutally hot day). I placed in my age group and now have a coveted guitar award.
It’s never too late to begin running. I’ve gone from walking one race a year to completing 16 races of various distances last year. Surprisingly, my pace times have continued to improve. Racing has exposed me to the great “swag” you can get and the wonderful charities you can support while doing something good for yourself.
Running has provided me confidence, relieved stress, provided a sense of accomplishment, helped me lose weight and gain conditioning. A month after completing the marathon in 2012, I was in a car wreck on the interstate. The car was totaled after hitting the guard rail twice. I continued with my planned activities for the day. After training this body to absorb pounding the pavement for 26+ miles, a few bumps had no impact!
When BGR! says they welcome all ages and abilities, they mean it. I suspect my age (63) is older than some of the parents of the BGR! members. BGR! meets and accepts you regardless of your running/walking ability. BGR! has established an amazing running community. While in New York, all I had to do was wear my BGR! gear for them to recognize, welcome and include me. However independent you are, the BGR! support is incredible and inspiring. Last year’s Country Music Half Marathon was done during a non stop torrential rain. BGR! members who didn’t run were out there in that rain cheering us on. It’s wonderful being a member of such a dedicated group.
BGR! has shown me the importance of a strong support system of persons who understand what you are doing and what it takes to accomplish goals. There’s nothing like the amazing BGR! community. The running tips, food and exercise advice are invaluable. The camaraderie is great. Wherever you go, you have a support group to cheer you on. My running S/hero who always encouraged and advised me passed away in 2012. BGR! has fulfilled that role.
My goals are to make the NY Marathon, complete 16 races this year and to get to the point that a marathon isn’t so intimidating mentally or physically. One thing is certain. I’ll have my BGR! sisters encouraging and supporting me all the way!