Thursday, January 9, 2020

2019 Inspiring People of the Year Angela Tortorice

Meet Current Guinness World Record Holder Angela

Angela Tortorice is the current record holder for the most marathons run in a calendar year, completing 129 marathons between September 1, 2012 and August 31, 2013.

Angela Tortorice has been running marathons since 1997, inspired after a recent divorce and a new and much more challenging relationship! Angela’s husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) just a few years into her marriage. Running 2-3 miles a day helped in dealing with the stress of daily life and helped keep some of the weight off that the in laws help put on with the wonderful Italian spreads during Sunday lunches!!! Angela helped form the TXU Energy Bike MS team in 2003 and has raised over $142K for the cause either through private donations or personal donations through Running the Distance, LLC incorporated in 2011.

Angela directs 3 different series Texas Double, Texas Triple and Texas Quad giving proceeds from these events to MS. She has wonderful volunteers that make the events a success.

Angela was inspired by the previous record holder Yolanda Holder to try to go beyond the current limits. Although she worked full-time, her company supported her efforts all along the way.

Angela is a member of the 50 state marathon club having run a marathon in all 50 states 5 times, a marathon maniac (Hall of Fame member and Marathon Maniac of the Year) and #1 in the USA for most marathons run, female with over 800 lifetime marathons.

Angela faced many challenges in 2018, including the loss of a relationship, but most of all the loss of her Mother. The running community (including a trip to Australia with Steve and Paula Boone) is what helped her get through the challenges. If it were not for running she knows having a continued, positive outlook would not be as possible. She credits her success God, family and friends!!!

If you are interested in learning more about the half and full marathons Angela directs for MS or you are interested in volunteering, please visit


Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Inspiring People of the Year Theresa Myers

Update on 2018 Inspiring People Theresa Myers!

2019 had some ups and downs. I was supposed to complete all 3 races during the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend but about a week prior, I had to withdraw because I came down with pneumonia. I was disappointed but know that it was a blessing in disguise.  I had recovered enough to complete two races I had previously signed up for. The first was the Wounded Warfighter/Lone Sailor 10K, my second to date. It was an emotionally trying race but I crossed the finish line with a better time than my first 10K the year prior. The second race was the following weekend and was the Star Wars Rival Run 5K. The race was delayed due to lightning in the area, and even though it was pouring, it was such a fun race. At the packet pickup the day before, I had the honor of meeting Jeff Galloway.

After that things with my back went downhill a bit. It would take me 30-45 minutes to take the short walk from my parking spot to my apartment. My PTSD was also slowly getting worse but I kept pushing forward. I had finally found a doctor who listened to me and properly treated my back and I had a rhizotomy procedure done in September. My timing is somewhat impeccable because earlier in the year I had committed to doing the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers 5K to honor the memory of the first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9-11. The Tunnel To Towers race was just short of a week after the procedure, and in hindsight I should have pulled out of the race but I felt that I could not go back on my word to honor the fallen. At packet pickup I was given the picture and bio of Firefighter Brian Sweeney of Rescue 1, and I carried his picture with me for the entire race. It was my slowest ever 5K, and I even had other runners ask me if I was okay. Again I was able to cross the finish line through faith and sheer determination.

Speaking of impeccable timing, the following month I had sinus surgery and the weekend after I had a Halloween 5K that I committed to do with one of my best friends, Sandra. There were some ladies there who had absolutely terrifying costumes... they were dress as the balloon ladies from the Disney races. My friend and I talked with them and they were the ladies that do the races and are the unofficial pacers for the 10K, Half and full marathons. For anyone who hasn’t been able to do a Disney race yet, the balloon ladies run the minimum pace requirement of a 16:00 minute mile. My friend and I started the race right next to them and my goal was to stay ahead of them as practice for my next timed Disney race. I know without a doubt, if it had not been for Sandra, I wouldn’t have done near as well in that race. We stayed ahead of the balloon ladies the entire time and I reached a personal best and had an average pace 14:49.

A few days after that I had the honor of being a co-captain for Potterhead Running Club’s Fall Quidditch Racery event. My team helped raise $981.92 for Orange Sky Australia. Orange Sky Australia helps provide a platform for every day Australians to connect through a regular laundry and shower service. The focus is on creating a safe, positive and supportive environment for people who are too often ignored or who feel disconnected from the community. Their volunteers are not social workers or experts on homelessness - they are empathetic listeners and great conversationalists. My team was phenomenal and persevered through some hard things. Not including all the races I participated in for the running clubs under the Random Tuesday Inc. umbrella, my final race of the year was Disney’s Fall Feast 5K which has become one of my favorite races.

So in 2019, I completed a total of 6 live races including my 2nd 10K. Looking forward to 2020, I will be doing at least one race for each Disney race weekend starting with the 5K during the Marathon weekend in January. I am planning on completing my 3rd 10K, but hope to add at least one more to the calendar. I am also really looking forward to all of the races from my virtual running clubs and learning and learning about some awesome charities. This year has proven yet again how blessed I am to have such amazing parents and friends. There is an old African proverb that says if you want to go fast to go alone and if you want to go far to go with friends. My experience this year has taught me that you can definitely go far with friends, but you can also go fast with their constant support and encouragement.

Love you,

Friday, December 27, 2019

2019 Inspiring People of the Year Mark McCaslin

Meet Multi- Day Ultra Runner Mark!

July 2017 – Early morning I feel this horrible cramp take over my right calf.  Screeching pain bringing me to my knees and laying on the floor over 15 times. (felt like numerous forks being stabbed into me at once).  It takes a LOT of pain to say BRING me to the emergency room.  This is one time I said let’s go RIGHT now!!

The short story is a after a few hours.  Crazy drugs. I was released with some more heavy drugs to take for the next three weeks.  I am not really convinced they figured out exactly what the issue was. The drugs masked the problem.  The next week I was able to see my regular doctor and after a full exam he explained my magnesium was a bit short. LOL   $10 amazon shipment of Magnesium and I was cured!?!

My training did diminish a bit while I continued to do long races ranging from 24 hours to 6 days. 

A few months pass and I arrive at ATY (Across the Years) for a 6- day race with a plan of about 350 miles and earning my 1000-mile jacket.   What is wrong with me?!!? I can barely lift anything and in a lot of pain in lower back.  The race begins as a struggle while I have a smile and encouraging face painted on.  I was basically OUT of the race three or four different times. Laying down at mile at approx. 180 miles I was done. However, I had my goal and I ALWAYS finish strong.  I am back in pushing forward at a very painful rate. My hat on and sunglasses secure to help hide the pain.   

The timing tent could tell I was hurting and jokingly said you may make it to 250 miles.   I pushed.  Aleve had no beneficial assistance as I changed my stride and pushed hour after hour.   I stopped at 300 miles early in the morning. Still short of my goal.  I couldn’t walk straight any longer.   Leaning to the right and pounds of pressure filled my lower back.   A return home where life does not stop and business continues.  I again finally see my main doctor in early Jan 2018.  A number of work meetings are cancelled as I can barely drive.  

Months go by that include dozens of doctor, physical therapy visits, insurance approval issues and delays, and finally a MRI.    2 degenerative discs causing a left leg sciatic issue.   Walking sideways and my left leg feeling like more forks being stabbed.  The right calf continues to behave as I take my magnesium.   What a mess I am. J

Back a few years I ran my first marathon (1988 Chicago Marathon) then after a 20-year taper. I jumped back into it with a 50k in Hell Michigan.  After that I was hooked again many marathons and 50K’s later… then a string of 50 milers and five successful 100-mile races in a row.   Then a number of mixed 100’s with lots of stomach issues and eventually being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  Not the normal thing a fairly fit on weight individual hears.     100-mile races are still tough going for 24-30 without breaks for my stomach. I am not sure I will figure out the correct recipe.   Longer races of 150-200 seem and are better as they have some rest breaks.  After some 150 miler and 200 miles races I heard of this 6 day race going on in Alaska (2014) .   I contacted Joe Fejas and he put me on a waitlist. Shortly after I was in and wondered what did I just do?!   Now I have completed twelve 6-Day races and two 10-Day races.    Four of these were completed in 2019 and Three more are scheduled for 2020!

Months of pain and suffering and plateauing progress.  Nine months of zero running at all! 5 or 6 epidural shots, physical therapy, and sitting on the sidelines. Weight gain of 15 lbs. I met an ART Chiropractor in Philadelphia.  After he explained how messed up I was he highly suggested I get a local ART to look at me and start a very regular schedule of seeing them. (3 x a week).  Months of this, acupuncture, and some Cryo Some progress could be seen and felt.   Goal was to avoid surgery and build core back to a manageable level.  

A few painful re-occurrences in lower back and finally some relief.  Exercise ball, rowing machine, treadmill, stretching, hanging, inversion table, consistency all contributed to another comeback attempt.  April of 2019 entering the Sri Chinmoy 6 day I had high delusional goals.   I guess starting at my heaviest weight ever won’t really help achieve an outstanding performance.  However, I fought through mostly pain free (just out of shape) and completed 254 miles.  Not outstanding but not broken and building a base.  

May 2019 24 hour in Philly 70 solid miles before exhaustion hit. I was convinced 110 miles in 24 hours would happen.  It did not.  Great participants and energy at the race.  Was glad and happy to be able to walk and run well at least for the first 16 hours.

3 or 4 more local races leading up to THE Dome Deux in Milwaukee.  All-star runners filled the course and high energy.  My goal was to return to 300 plus pain free miles.   Still working on getting in shape I figured 300 would be possible.  A great start followed by exhaustion then a good middle and more exhaustion followed by my previous great finish and I reached 372.54 miles.  Tired but felt great with my second best 6 day ever. 

Sept 2019 ended with around 550 race miles. Leading up to another 6-Day (Yes maybe too much) in November (Icarus).   Icarus went well with a limited field second place 329-mile finish. 

I feel I am back on track.  I am about 95% strength I am maintaining core with all of my machines and a more regular TRAINING schedule. 

I feel fortunate to avoid surgery and most fortunate to run and meet so many great athletes and people from all over the country.  Every day is a blessing.

Ultra Running Wife Shirley

Some of my Ultra running facts:

  • -        Met my ultrarunning wife during an Ultra.
  • -        I have 100’s of friends with real communication met through all ultra-distances but especially 24 hr,   6 day, and 10-day races.
  • -         I have a friend who have climbed Everest, run (walked) 3100 miles, Hold World Records, National    Age group records, completed dozens of 100s in one year, Deca Ultras, lost 100+ pounds, run     across nations, etc. etc. 

It really is amazing what we can all accomplish.  Encourage, positive, and know it is possible. 


Sunday, December 22, 2019

2019 Inspiring People of the Year Amy Mower

Amy Has a Running Addiction!

I am not fast.  Let’s just start with that.  But… it turns out, fast is relative. 

For me, running is about finding my inner strength.  I was an overweight, sedentary, nerdy kid who hated all forms of exercise.  Except badminton… I liked badminton.  In 9th grade I joined the track team.  I vividly remember the first days of track, where we were all tested as to our strengths.  It turns out I had none.  Or so it appeared.  In high school track, at least in my day, there were 2 types of runners they assigned to the quarter mile race.  Those who could run it really well… and those who couldn’t run anything else well.  I fell into the latter category.  My first painful quarter mile sprint was 90 seconds and change.  For non-track runners, this equates to ridiculously slow.  Nonetheless, I persevered.  The track workout I remember best was “quarters” practice.  This was a brutal form of torture in which the coach has all runners sprint a quarter mile, rest for one minute, and do it again.  6 times.  Then there was, perhaps, a 10 minute rest, before we did the whole thing over again.  This was one of 2 times in my life when I truly, truly wished for death.  And yet… I survived.  I didn’t even vomit. 
Track team - I'm on the bottom right

By the end of the track season I had my quarter mile down to about 74 seconds.  Still not fast, but a vast improvement.  And I learned perhaps one of the most valuable lessons of my life.  Which is… it is important to do hard things.  They transform you… they let you know that you are capable of more than you think.  And really, for me, that’s what running is all about.

After that one track season, I didn’t run again for a long long time.  Instead, I took up drinking and smoking.  Which I did, to excess, until I was 22.  Drinking was fabulous – it helped me find my inner self confidence.  Suddenly I was comfortable in social situations…  I felt more confident about myself, and more attractive.  Of course it wasn’t really an ideal solution and I ended up in some church basements learning how to be comfortable without alcohol.  I continued to smoke, though, until I was 30.  And then it was time to give that up too.

I was terrified of gaining weight, so I started to exercise.  My rule was that I had to exercise 30 minutes a day for 3 days in a row, and then the 4th day I got to rest.  I did this for a few years, and it helped keep me sane.  I ran my first race – a Cooperstown NY local 5 K, called the “Coop Loop” because I wanted the T-shirt.  I collected those T-shirts for a few years (they were my standard go-to Saturday afternoon apparel) and that was the extent of my running until a visit to my brother’s house when he and his wife told me they were running the Army Ten Miler.  10 miles, holy crap. That was really far.  I signed up.  Trained.  Ran.  And kept running.  Training for that race was so empowering that as soon as I was done, I signed up for my first marathon.  I didn’t think I could possibly run straight for 26.2 miles, so I trained using the Jeff Galloway run walk method.  I finished my first marathon in 5:02, and just kept running.
Wheaties box was a gift from my brother  

I ran 4 marathons before I ever ran a half.  The only marathon where I said “I’m never doing this again” was my second – the Marine Corp Marathon.  Of course, it wasn’t my last.  I started incorporating triathlons into my race schedule and trained for and raced an Ironman in 2014.  That was when I learned the true joy of endurance events – which is, the friends you meet along the way.  I was part of a team raising money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation and those friends are still important to me.  In fact, one of my teammates, Katy, is who I blame for my first ultra.  I was visiting her in Texas and she asked me to watch a movie – “Desert Runners” – about a group of ultra-runners aiming to complete the “4 Desert” challenge in 1 year. Katy said she thought of me when she watched the movie.  I said “no freakin’ way.  Those people are crazy”.  And promptly signed up for my first ultra on the airplane home from Texas – CanLakes 50 miler, in Canandaigua, NY.
Until that first ultra, I was largely a treadmill runner.  I had a love hate relationship with running at that point – I loved what it did for me as a person, but in general I didn’t enjoy the actual doing.  But in training for CanLakes, I moved my training outside.  And with my first “back to back” training weekend, learned my most important lesson of ultra-running.  Which was… that it was possible to keep running – even after running long the day before – as long as I ran at the pace my body wanted to go.

And with that, I learned Run Joy.  I learned that running doesn’t have to hurt.  In fact, most of the time, it shouldn’t.  It can feel good – great, even.  Finding that zone where you can go forever and ever… there is no meditation that does for me what that kind of running does. 
My first 50 quickly led to my first 100 – the Beast of Burden in Lockport, NY.  Which led to my first 24 hour, and then my first multi-day – 48 hours at ARFTA (A Race for the Ages) – a Laz race where you get as many hours to run as you are years old.  This lets you compete on a level playing field with legends.  Doyle Carpenter, Don Winkley, Gunhild Swanson - runners in their 70’s and, some, 80’s, who are just astounding athletes.  ARFTA might just be the most inspirational race on my docket.

I started with “I am not fast”.  This is true.  However, it appears that what I have is staying power.  And as I have run longer and longer distances, completing my first 6 Day race at Across the Years last New Year’s, I have discovered that the longer I go, the more competitive I am able to be.  I have been first place female at several multi-days and seem to have found my niche.

This year I was blessed to run several incredibly meaningful races.  After my 6 day, which was amazing, but very, very all-consuming and hard,  I went searching for races that would give me joy.  I discovered that in spades at The Greater New York 100 miler,  RD’d by Phil McCarthy and Trishul Cherns.  This race introduced me to journey running – where you are running not to win, but to explore new terrain on foot.  Letting myself not focus on a time goal but rather just immersing myself in the experience was freeing and gave me perhaps more joy than I have ever experienced in a race.  I felt like I took a 100 mile vacation through New York, in 24 hours, on foot.  I stopped to dance on the boardwalk on Coney Island, my running partner Larry Huffman cracking up and videoing me on the side, and I was in my perfectly happy place. 
TGNY.  Pure Joy. 
And, just a few months ago, experienced one of the other most meaningful races I’ve run – Spartathlon.  This was a 153 mile trek across Greece – starting in Athens, and ending in Ancient Sparta.  I had signed up at the urging of Bob Hearn – one of my all-time idols, and was blessed to have him assist my husband BJ as my primary crew at Spartathlon.  Because I had completed longer distances in the past, I was not expecting this race to be as hard as it was.  The early cut-offs were rough, and I went into the race fully prepared that I might DNF one of the early cut-offs, but I had felt that if I made it to mile 50, where the time limits eased up, it would be smooth sailing for the rest of the way.  Not so.  I worked for every mile of that race.  And… it has found its way deep into my heart, with the stunning scenery, the ancient historical aspect, the worldwide team participation, the local support, and the pageantry.

The one and only Spartathlon 

Running has given me gifts.  Gifts of strength, and joy, and discovery.  It has allowed me to dig deep, and when there is nothing left, dig deeper.  It lets me know I am capable of anything.

If you’d like to hear more about more story, visit my blog, Running Addiction, at:


Saturday, December 14, 2019

2019 Inspiring People of the Year Rhonda Foulds

 Running Through It:  Rhonda and Parkinson's Disease

Story courtesy of   Run Though It

[Today brings us back to the Running Through It series; Tish profiles Rhonda Foulds, a #motherrunner who is Running Through Parkinson's Disease. She taken her weight—as well as her disease—under control and recently set an ambitious goal to qualify for Boston.]]
Rhonda Foulds was a 35-year-old mother of three young boys training for her first marathon in 1999 when she noticed her right pinkie was shaking badly, uncontrollably. Huh, that’s weird.
Was it nerve damage? Maybe overtraining, as she’d been adding extra miles to her normal routine. Finally her husband talked her into going to her doctor.
“The doctor noticed things I had not, like my right arm wasn’t swinging properly,” Foulds says today. “He said, ‘I think you have Parkinson’s.’”
No way, she thought then.
And says today: “Parkinson’s wasn’t new to me; my dad and an uncle had it. But I was only 35—I didn’t know people that young could have Parkinson’s.”
(Science sidebar: Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing neurons in a specific part of the brain, according to The Parkinson’s Foundation. Symptoms include tremors and balance problems. It progresses slowly; there is no cure. Michael J. Fox was 29 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, and 36 when he disclosed it to the public. His foundation has raised tons of money for and awareness about the disease.)
The next five years were rough: She didn’t run that marathon; she quit exercising and gained 100 pounds. Though she still worked at Wells Fargo Bank, her physical and mental health declined precipitously.
“I had depression and anxiety,” Foulds says. “I didn’t do anything to make myself feel better.”
By the time she underwent an experimental surgery in 2004, she relied on more than 25 meds and an electric wheelchair because her legs were so shaky, she was afraid she’d fall. “I could walk,” she says. “But I was just so exhausted.”
In a surgery called deep-brain stimulation, doctors implanted electrodes in her brain and connected them to a stimulator placed in her chest. She relies on it to this day.
Returning to her previous fitness was a slow process. She began walking and riding a recumbent bike around her neighborhood in Justin, Texas. Then she read that to ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s, you have to work up a sweat, and casual walking wasn’t going to do it. So she went to the local park and ran a few steps.
    Rhonda with middle son Zach, a former Marine, who encouraged his mom to return to  running. (PS Love the runner tan lines!)   

It made me feel so much better,” Foulds says. “Oh, my god! This is it! This is the secret!”
Even just a few steps did the trick. “I don’t know if it was adrenaline or endorphins or a runner’s high,” she says, “but a light went off in my brain. It literally woke me up.”
(Full-disclosure sidebar: I had the honor and the privilege of meeting Rhonda Foulds in person when she was the Reader’s Choice Winner of the 2016 Runner’s World Cover Search, which I helped judge and where I then worked.)
Rhonda discovered the motivation of goals: first a 5K, then a marathon, then the 50 States Marathon Club.
By 2016, Rhonda Foulds had run 44 marathons—including the Dallas White Rock Marathon she didn’t get to do in 1999 when she was diagnosed. She had lost 100 pounds (though she’d gained back 40.) Even better: running had eased her symptoms so successfully, she was off ALL her meds!
“Motion is lotion,” she told me back then.
    Rhonda at the 2017 Hachie marathon, in Waxahachie, Texas

 Rhonda Foulds, now 55, posts avidly about her journey. She’s up to 80 marathons, as well as one 50-miler and several 50Ks. Her three sons are grown and served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. She has run the Boston Marathon five times, qualifying in the mobility-impaired division (which requires a 6-hour marathon finish).
Her Facebook page caught my eye recently because of two new goals: To qualify for Boston in her age group (which requires a 4:10 marathon) and to get down to her pre-baby weight of 138.
Quite honestly—and yes, I know this is shallow—her photos caught my eye because, well, SHE LOOKS FANTASTIC!
        In six months, Rhonda has lost 50 pounds. Impressive!        

 “I decided in December that I was sick of being ‘fat,’” she says. “I was going to try to get the weight off not to look better but to feel better.”
In six months she’s lost 50 pounds. Applause!
But how? “Mainly keto,” she says. “I cut out sugar, most carbs, and all processed food. I eat a lot of chicken, avocado, and coconut oil.”
No sugar? asked the cappuccino-chocolate-chip ice-cream-aholic. Isn’t that … hard?
“I have been a sugar addict my whole life,” she says. “It was incredibly hard the first three weeks, and I wanted to give up. But I felt so much better so quickly, and after about a month I thought, ‘I don’t crave it anymore.’ Once I had fat in my diet, I didn’t crave sugar.”
(The Michael J. Fox Foundation cites anecdotal evidence of the ketogenic diet’s effectiveness with Parkinson’s; if you are considering a keto diet for any reason, please consult your doctor and a nutritionist.)
Changing her nutrition allowed her to quit taking two drugs she’d come to rely on. “I was starting to have a weak and jittery voice,” she says. “It's given me more clarity. I don’t have the fogginess I had. I don’t know for sure if it was the diet, but I can see the difference.”
Her neurosurgeon checks her blood every month, and has Foulds take her blood pressure every day. “All good,” she says.
“Because I ran so many miles for so many years, I thought I could eat what I wanted,” Foulds says. “I was able to run long distances, but I didn’t necessarily have a healthy body.”
“You can’t outrun your fork.”
Not that it’s all been flowers and sunshine. She bonked pretty hard in a marathon in April. “I was delirious,” she says. “I haven’t figured out how to fuel; I have to have some carbs to run races.”
And she’s modified her 50 States Marathon Club goal to 50 races of any distance in each state.
For the summer months, she’s sticking with shorter races. In October, she’ll run Chicago Marathon for a charity, and then her goal is to go after the 4:10 marathon in Houston in January. She’ll work with a coach and a nutritionist to dial in the fueling. “If I don’t make the time goal this time, that’s okay,” she says. “It’s all about the journey.”
Last week she ran a 5K in 31 minutes, or five to eight minutes faster than usual.

      Rhonda has run Boston five times in the mobility-impaired division. She aims to qualify as an age-grouper.  

  “Pretty much I’ve got Parkinson’s under control,” she says. “Things change day to day so you never know, but I’ve got it pretty sewn up right now.”
Rhonda Foulds has faced some pretty significant challenges. What is her advice to other mothers facing hard times (even if they’re a different kind of difficulty)?
“It’s all in what you tell yourself,” she says. “I told myself before, ‘There’s no way I can run a marathon, especially with Parkinson’s.’ What you tell yourself becomes reality.”

“If you say you can’t, you can’t. If you say you can, you probably can! If you tell yourself, ‘I’m going to go out there and do it,’ you have a much better chance than if you didn’t try at all.”

True story!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

2019 Inspiring People of the Year Fast Eddie

I'm Fast Eddie and I'm 80 Years Young

    Fast Eddie Rousseau entered the year at age 79, with immediate training plans to be ready for the 100 Mile Nationals in Las Vegas in Feb  and Snowshoe Nationals in Cable Wisconsin in early March. Training went well on his big snowshoes and on his long runs on an indoor tract at a YMCA and YWCA  in Minneapolis, and on the indoor track at Bemidji State University near his cabin in northern Minnesota. Then at a physical exam, cancer was found  already well into the bottom part of his nose. He had surgery put off  till late March to do to national races. The 100 Mile Nationals with crew Erin, a runner as well, went great for over 50 miles but slowed due to a chest cold. Then in the cold of the night he stiffened and slowed so much that  after 88 miles his pace had him missing the 30 hour cut off. So broken hearted he ended his race. The Snowshoe Nationals brought redemption with a National Championship. Then the nose surgery and several weeks off where he says he got soft and gained weight.

   Next would come the Cornbelt Running Club 24 Hour Track Race in Iowa which he has run many times. A fun time with old friends and a decent finish. A month later the FANS 24 hour in the Twin Cities, his back yard so to speak. It was the 30th annual FANS 24 Hour and Fast Eddie has run them all, the only runner to do so. His  total miles on a hot day was just over 70, and gave him a 30 year total of over 2800 as he continues to go for the 3000 total in 2nd place and almost 800  miles ahead of the next nearest runner. He surmised that as rapidly as he is slowing down, he may get there by age 90.

Then a favorite of many years, Grandmas Marathon in Duluth. A great Marathon, great expo, great friends.

There were shorter races from 5Ks to 10 milers sprinkled between the long ones. He says that at this age you gotta keep moving or stay in the recliner and wither away. But to  run, no matter how slow he goes, he is lapping the guy on the sofa. 

   Then in July came a 6 day race  in the dome run in the Pettit Ice Arena in Milwaukee on an indoor track as hockey games went on on the rinks inside. Did not have to worry about breaking a huge sweat there. He  had surprising  foot and back issues that resulted in his worst 6 day total ever. 283 miles, though he recalls he was ahead of the other runners in the 75-79 age division. But he said that the real joy in ultras especially and any race he runs is the friendships new and renewed. Newton Baker, Don Winkley, Jimmy Barnes, Yolanda Holder to name just a few, but to name any is not doing service to all the many other great friends who were there.  He had a number of friends crew for him, some who had never been to an ultra. 

 August had him at the Paavo Nurmi Marathon in northern Wisconsin , another favorite where he sees running friends from Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he grew up. He ran the Paavo faster than a year earlier.

September had him excitedly celebrate his 80th birthday and 36 years of sobriety. But on a sad note the passing of a few close co-workers and also through the year 3 classmates. His little High School Graduating Class of 21 is now down to just 8. September brought him to the 24 Hour Nationals in Cleveland at Edgewater Park on the shores of Lake Erie two days after he moved into the Age  80-84  Masters Division. This one was hot! 88 degrees on a blacktop path. he saw only 5 runners get to 100 miles or more. He recalled his first 24 hour nationals where he got 121 miles and didn't crack the top ten.  Foot problems from the heat, and back problems kept his total to 70 miles, but well ahead of his nearest competitor and in 28th place of 112 entries. Not bad at age 80. 

Then one more, in early October, his favorite , the Twin Cities Marathon in it's 38th year and Fast Eddie one of 18 Charter Member starters who have done them all, Eddie being the oldest of the group. . The 6 hour finish cut off ultimately gets them. Fast Eddie had a terrible 5 hour 56 minutes a year earlier thinking what happened since if PR of 2 hours 57 minutes in 1984.  Now slimmer than last year, he still he had hopes. As the only runner over age 80, a major local TV station, WCCO CH4  did a pre-race story on him on October 5th, the day before the race.  Perfect weather he ran a 5 hour 24 minute marathon, still alive as a charter member.

As a dear friend and great runner a bit older than Fast Eddie, told him, we got to keep having dreams. So for 2020 at a solid age 80, Fast Eddie is dreaming and already entered into the 100 Mile Nationals in February in Las Vegas, bound and determined to beat the cut off. Happy, he ends 2019 with 110 marathons and 122 ultra marathons and having medalled in 38 Nationals, with 23 of them gold medals. But to Fast Eddie, the number of dear friendships  made over the years are worth so much more than medals..

-Fast Eddie 

Sunday, December 8, 2019

2019 Inspiring People of the Year Julia K Garling

 Brain Cancer Survivor runs more than 200 marathons

I ran my first marathon in 2005, the Marine Corps Marathon.  I ran it for the Friends4Michael foundation, which raises money for children who are battling brain tumors and their families that need extra assistance, etc. I was raising money and awareness for children with Brain Tumors because when I was 24, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was lucky to have youth on my side.  After two surgeries, I was left with a very weak and unresponsive body but I had a great team of doctors in my corner and my own sheer iron will and eventually I learned to stand, walk, and run.
I was lucky enough to live in NYC and had an amazing team of specialists but also I was lucky enough to witness the greatest show on earth, the NYCM go by.  I watched for hours and while I couldn’t walk unassisted at the time, I got inspired.  I decided that one day, if God gave me the strength, I was going to do that.

I eventually ran the NYCM and raised funds for MSKCC, the hospital where I was treated.   I never felt more proud of myself as when I ran passed the hospital with ‘survivor’ on my arm.
In 2006, I ran 2 marathons, both for the National Brain Tumor Foundation in LA and SF, 4 months apart.  It was that year that I learned about the 50 states marathon club, at the expo.  Instantly, I thought it was an amazing idea and a seed was planted in my brain.  I would get to travel the country and see friends who left NYC and visit National Parks and raise money for charities I believed in.  It fit me to a T.  I am a virgo, I’m type A personality, I like to check things off the list.  Doing a marathon in all 50 states, even though I’ve only run 3 marathons, was exactly what I needed.

In 2008, I ran 3 marathons, New Orleans LA, Chicago, IL, and NYCM setting a PR with each and every race.  I was falling in love with marathoning and learning that I was much stronger than I ever thought I was. 

In 2010, at the Pineline Trail Marathon in Medford WI, I met a fellow 50 staters named Shane Garling form AK.  We instantly connected and discussed states we both needed to complete our journeys’.  It turns out he needed NY and I needed AK, so we exchanged contact information and decided to keep in touch.

In 2011, I ran a race with him in AL and met a Marathon Maniac from DC that would introduce the Marathon Maniacs to me and my life as I knew it, would never be the same; it was forever changed by the number of marathons I would run. I joined the Marathon Maniacs in late 2011 because I wanted to join with 4 stars, it was the double in NH/ME that sealed the deal for me. Once I joined however I realized that I could have joined two years earlier then I did and I could have been inspired even sooner.  But everything happens in its own time.

It was joining the MM’s that opened me up to what was possible.  I thought I was doing everything I can by running 4 marathons a year, and my non running friends thought I was nuts.  But when I saw that people were doing a marathon a weekend, well that planted the seeds for what was to come.
I decided I wanted to push my limits and see if I can run a marathon a month.  Shane, my new friend, was doing a marathon a month and I wanted to continue to spend time with him so in 2011 that was my goal, but that year, because of the influence of other Marathon Maniacs, I did 19 marathons, and in 2012 I surpassed that goal with 32 marathons so I can become Titanium Level, the highest level of the Insane Asylum.

In 2013, at the Louisiana marathon, Shane proposed to me at the finish line. In 2014, at Maui Ocean front marathon, both his and mine 50th state marathon, that we have been planning for 2 years now, we made it official and became 50 state finishers and husband and wife when we crossed the finish line. Our ceremony was at mile 17 of the course, we had a lovely ceremony, which lasted about 30 minutes with all our MM and 50 stater friends surrounding us.

Today I’m at 237 marathons in 14+ years and I am 10 states shy of completing my 3rd round of the 50 states. I no longer run marathons for speed like I did in 2006-2009, now I run to help others.  I Pace marathons all over the country now and I help others achieve their goals and dreams.
I am a Licensed Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher and Running Coach but all that came about because of my passion for running marathons. I spent 15 years in finance doing what I thought adults do, a job they didn’t like, and enjoying my marathoning hobby on the weekends.  But in 2008, when the market tanked, I decided to make a change.  It was the universe giving me a 2nd chance yet again.  It was time to start living my passions full time instead of the weekends.
Running has brought me to a new career, the love of my life, my husband Shane, and ultimately, running has brought me to myself, someone I can be proud of today.
I went from being ‘cancer girl’ at the office to ‘runner girl’ and today I am living the life of my dreams.  I can’t thank marahtoning enough for that.


Here are just some articles about me