Monday, March 19, 2012

In the "Spotlight" with Rose from Portland

Meet the amazingly awesome ultra runner Rose from Portland

Rose Bak  Maniac

 Growing up I was always the "fat girl". My weight ballooned as I got older and by my 30s I weighed over 300 pounds. While at the doctor in 2007 for a routine check-up she said my blood pressure was getting high enough for meds.  I thought, "This is it. I've been really healthy until now, but first it's blood pressure, then I'll be diabetic, I'm getting the fat diseases, I’ll be dead of a heart attack by 40". Resolving to finally do something, I joined Curves, a gym targeted towards women without exercise experience, and started to lose a couple pounds a month. Encouraged, I started making changes to my diet and the weight came off more quickly. Gradually I lost 125 pounds.
Soon I was walking too and a friend and I decided to walk the Race for the Roses Half Marathon in April 2008. One of the scariest moments of my life was going  into the Convention Center before the race, seeing the huge crowd of fit-looking runners in their little outfits, stretching and talking. I stood there in my cotton clothes and cheap shoes, clutching a plastic water bottle (not knowing there’d be fluids on the course), feeling like an outsider, wondering what I’d gotten myself into and praying I wouldn’t get lost on the course

Completing Race for the Roses literally changed my life. It gave me a love for racing and a sense I could do anything, even something sporty, which I’d never done in my life. I set my sights higher and later that year walked the Portland Marathon. Walking turned into running and I continued to race.
At my second marathon, the Newport Marathon in 2009, I became aware of a group called the Marathon Maniacs.  They were festive in their yellow shirts and greeting each other on the out and back. I thought to myself, “How cool would it be a part of that club some day?” I figured it was a few years off though. Four months later I did the Portland Marathon again and the Greek Marathon in Athens. Then I realized that if I did the Seattle Marathon over Thanksgiving weekend I could qualify for Maniacs. Seattle was two days away but registration was still open, so clearly it was meant to be. I was so thrilled to realize that I'd become the kind of person who could just go do a marathon on a whim, so I did and qualified for the Maniacs.

I've now completed 21 marathons and ultras (and attempted two other ultras) and worked through a few injuries along the way.  My life has completely changed due to racing and I love it! I might be one of the slowest in the race, I’ve even been last a few times, but I can always finish.  For a girl who spent most of her life on the couch, that’s pretty exciting! 


  1. Way to go Rose! I loved reading this - and now you are an inspiration to others!

  2. I love your story! You are truly a wonderful role model to us all! Your devotation and dedication is so inspiring! Keep it up! Sandy

  3. How did I miss this? Yeah Rose! You're awesome!