My guest today has run over 100 marathons and she’s also a member of the 50 state club.
She always has big goals and isn’t planning on hanging up her running shoes anytime soon.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles today with Jennifer Bell.
Embracing The Challenge
Jennifer Bell was not athletic growing up.
It was as an adult that she discovered her athletic side through running.
Once her two children were off to college, Jennifer had the extra time she wanted to fill.
Jennifer began walking as a way to stay in shape.
Her husband teased her that she was walking so fast that she might as well be running.
Jennifer didn’t think she could run, but ultimately it was the challenge that inspired her to try.
She admittedly had no idea what she was doing and just tried to increase the distance she ran from day to day.
Her first race was a half-marathon and from then on she was officially hooked on the sport.
Chasing A BQ
Jennifer went straight from her first half-marathon to her first marathon.
She ran the Baystate Marathon in 2013 and finished in a time of just over 4 hours.
Jennifer was not far off from a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time.
Having a BQ within reach was a big motivator for her.
It took her about 2 years, but in 2015 Jennifer ran a time that got her into Boston.
Jennifer began running at the age of 46, qualified at 48, and just ran Boston for her 7th time in 2023.
Jennifer has found that she learns something new every time she runs a marathon.
Over the years she has tried to use the knowledge she gains to improve in the future.
As she ages, Jennifer has found that recovery has become even more important to her health.
It isn’t only the good races that she has learned from.
Jennifer has learned just as much if not more from the hard races.
Her focus when going into a race is to control the controllables.
Jennifer always tries to have big goals she is working towards, because she finds them hugely motivating.
Once she earned her BQ, a friend suggested she try to run all 50 states.
Jennifer was immediately intrigued and began to work her way toward running a marathon in each state.
For the most part, she did each race separately, and occasionally would she do back-to-back races.
The pandemic slowed her progress, but she ultimately completed her goal in 2021.
It didn’t take long for Jennifer to focus on her next goal which was to complete 100 marathons.
With the completion of 50 states, she was already over halfway there.
Running For Tomorrow
With all the miles that Jennifer logs, she typically has a strategy going into races.
She has found that it is helpful to have an overall goal and also a more specific goal for each day.
That strategy can help when doing back-to-back races.
Jennifer will think ahead and plan for how she will recover after each race.
Her ultimate goal is to be able to run for tomorrow and avoid any setbacks or injuries.
Avoiding injuries is especially important as she is already working on her next goal.
52 In 52
Jennifer is currently working towards running 52 marathons in 52 weeks.
Her most recent marathon, which was Boston, is her 12th marathon of the year.
She is exactly where she needs to be with her progress.
As an educator, Jennifer has more free time over the summer.
Her plan is to squeeze in as many marathons as she can over the summer with the extra time.
Each race will be official and she prefers to drive rather than fly whenever possible.
Driving allows her to have more flexibility in what she packs along with controlling the travel timeline.
Jennifer tries to stick to her routines as much as possible when traveling.
Jennifer recently became an official ambassador for Destination Marathons.
Destination Marathons is a travel company that works with races all over the globe.
They offer VIP treatment at races along with planning the travel.
The runner can then enjoy the race and the trip without all the added stress of logistics.
Jennifer clearly enjoys traveling for races and looking ahead is planning on running Tokyo in 2024.
Once she completes Tokyo, her last Marathon Major to complete will be in London.
Goals motivate Jennifer, but running keeps pulling her back in because it is time that is just for her.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Destination Marathons
- Baystate Marathon
- St. George Marathon
- The Lost Dutchman Marathon
- Dalmation Run Fest & Dizzy Dalmation 101
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