Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 Inspiring People of the Year Camille Herron

Meet World Champion Ultra Marathoner and Guinness World Record Holder
Photo Credit Jetline Action Photo

Nature vs Nurture, by Camille Herron

As we were flying to San Francisco, I was watching the documentary Three Identical Strangers. Three young men who were all adopted meet each other and find out they were triplets separated at birth. Seeking to understand why they were separated, they find out they were part of an experimental study in which each baby was placed in a different family. The separation was done to try and answer the question of “nature vs nurture”. While they indeed have a lot in common, they find out they have a lot of difference too.

The movie made me reflect on my own life deeply- how blessed I am to have gotten the right genes from our parents for ultrarunning and also how my life experiences have shaped who I am.
Both of our parents were great athletes. Dad (and our Grandpa) played basketball at Oklahoma State, and Mom was a swimmer/golfer/bowler. I inherited our Dad’s long and lean body and limbs, while I believe I got my endurance physiology from Mom. I got my ability to be “cool under pressure” from Dad, while I think I got my ability to tolerate pain well from Mom. All four kids in our family played sports. However, I was the only one with the extreme motivation and drive to continue with sports into adulthood.

It was obvious from a young age I was wired differently. I had an innate fearlessness and ability to push to the extreme. I remember when I was three standing by the stove while Mom was cooking and feeling the heat from it. I tried to touch it to see how hot it was and burned my finger. I still have a scar on my finger!

Around the same age, we were at a public swimming pool. I was sitting on the edge peering into the water and wondered how deep it was. Before I knew it I fell in! Not knowing how to swim, I remember sinking to the bottom, looking up, and seeing Mom dive in to rescue me. This incident is why I did not become a swimmer like Mom!

I grew up with a basketball in my hands aspiring to be like Dad. As a girl in the mid-80's, I feel fortunate that Title IX came about 10 years prior. I was never made to feel that I couldn’t do something or lacked opportunities. I remember seeing the first female Globetrotter, Lynette Woodard, on TV—she was the first pro female athlete I ever saw. I dreamed of growing up to be a female Globetrotter.
Photo credit Kurt Schill

When I was seven, I got a basketball goal for my birthday. I’d heard stories from Dad how they’d practice for six hours without water. The following summer, I would practice every day in the heat, without food and water, until I’d start to black out. This is what I thought I had to do to get better! Then, I’d run inside to eat peanut butter and apples, grilled cheese sandwich, soup, pickles, and sweet tea or Coke. I’d come back out and continue practicing. Little did I know I was an ultrarunner in the making!

Flash forward to Desert Solstice last December 2017. 10 hours into my 12 hour World Record, I started getting an intense craving for sweet tea! I don’t remember the last time I had sweet tea. I was having mental flashbacks to my childhood, practicing in the driveway until I’d blackout. You see, it was all ingrained in me from the beginning! All my life experiences prepared me for this moment. They were able to get me some sweet tea, and it hit the spot! I got my second wind and continued to push and break Ann Trason’s 12 hour World Record set in 1991, which incidentally was one of the summer I was intensely practicing basketball!

Photo Credit Conor Holt

I’m 3 ½ years into my amazing ultrarunning journey now. People want to know how I do it. To answer the question of “nature vs nurture”- I believe the culmination of my life experiences are what helps propel my mind and body to unlock the potential of what’s possible. It is through my heart and will that I’ll continue to transcend!

You can follow my amazing journey at Camille Herron Athlete/Coach on Facebook

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Inspiring People of the Year Kobi Oren

Family Man and World Class Multi-Day Ultra Runner 

On the second of August 2018 I finished the 3100 Mile Self Transcendence Race. It was an end of an Era for me . I trained and gained distances over 6 years to get ready for it . Through the years I changed my training practice to improve my recovery time and to make my body more durable for running long distance multi day races.I found out by reading and training many ultra runners that the conventional training methods are based on marathon wisdom of running and does not 'cut it' for ultra distances and multi day running. As I changed my ways of training I trained less time and more efficiently. What followed was- Since 2014 I won in a roll 8 International Multi days ulltras; A 6-day race in Greece, which I won by traversing 768 km A 6-day race in France, which I won by running 739 km A 10-day race in South Africa, in which I won and ran the inconceivable distance of 1113.9 km. 

I became the first Israeli in history to run such a distance and also took my place among the leading runners in the world for such events. In July 2015, I won another 6-day race held in Norway, and thus I maintained my eighth-place world standing in this event for that year. July 2016, I came in first, in a Ten-day Multi Day Race that took place in NYC, covering 755 Miles= 1215 km, breaking my personal record. This race placed me – first place in the world in 2016 for Ten-day races, and forth in the all-time world ranking on that year. The 10 days run in New York 2016 gave the way it to run the 3100 Mile Self Transcendence race. The race team told me to get ready by running a Multi day Ultra race on cement. So I did it on July 2017 I ran 1000 miles race on South Africa Cement lane. I won it in 15 days. I discovered that cement is a painful punishment for me. I had to strengthen my body and learn how to handle severe muscle pain and still keep on running. 

I landed at New York at the first week of June 2018 .the race started on the 17.6.18. I knew it was going to be hard. Only 21 runners ever finished this race in the 22 years it took place. I knew that only I and one other runner were 'newbies' to this race. The other had experience. We were 9 runners and one amazing ultra walker which I all ready meet 2 years ago in the 10 days race in New-York.I knew she will bring us good vibes. I will make my race story at this time short even though it is long.very long. The Self Transcendence 3100 miles is a race that takes you to other inner dimensions. This race is not just the longest foot race on earth . It is an experience by it's on and can not be compered to any other ultra marathon or multi day race. You need to be on the move each day .no matter what . To find resources from to fuel yourself- to run without any day break, while the heat is on, the rain continues or the humidity is close to 90% . The runners need to run (or walk) continuously around 96 km per day for 52 days if they want to stand the cut off point !!! 

During this race I had to move from my physical abilities and relay on my mental abilities. You can't be prepared for this kind of 'life time' of a race. And that without facing your longings for your family, not seeing all of them for two months!!! There is no surprise that the 'New York Times' names it "The Mount Everest of Ultra Running". Most of the race days I really suffered during the first hours of each day. I 'found out' about myself that I can enjoy the running movement only after I get the 'job done' of running 55 lap . 55 laps was not enough to do per day but when I did it I knew that I will have a good day. This different universe of a race got me in connect with an amazing 'band of brothers' - I am not just talking about my brothers and sisters for the race. I am talking about the races team people from all over the globe with the passion of enthusiasm

They are all enlisted to help you .they see this race as a symbol of the human fight against the inner and outer powers that influence a person to give they try to boost you energy and give you good spirit. They give you a kind word at a time of need.look at you with a good smile and lift your spirit up. My 3100 mile race took 46 days. I am the 42 runner to ever psyscally to finish it. 

But spiritually this race is not over it is a life within a life, I can think about times with in this race and feel my inner strength. I can be up lifted by remembering the feel of the breeze on the trees on our lane. Can see in my mind the sunrise of each day. Wait for the morning course to sing there songs. Enjoy the cold night air settling in . In each of my multi days races I left a small part of my soul at the race lane. At Jamaica Queens after the Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race my soul is still running.


Friday, December 28, 2018

2018 Inspiring People of the Year Steve Edwards

850 Marathons Under 3:30 and still Running Strong

After running his first marathon at the age of 18 in 1981 and vowing never again, Steve Edwards has gone on to run 850 official competitive marathon races in an average finish time of 3hrs 18min 42sec for each which makes him one of the most successful multi marathon runners in the world today. Known by many in the UK running community as ‘The Godfather of Marathon Running’, Steve now aged 56 has set many world best records including running 500, 600, 700 and 800 official marathons in the fastest average finish time. He’s now going for the 900 record and then all being well hopes to ultimately achieve the record for running 1000 official marathons in the fastest average finish time.

During his marathon running career, he’s run 325 sub 3:15s, 500 sub 3:20s and 769 sub 3:30s. On average he’s run a competitive marathon race every 13 days for nearly 31 years. Steve says that while he feels a great sense of personal satisfaction from what he’s achieved the greater reward has come from helping to raise money for charity and inspiring others. Indeed what drives him is the legacy he would like to leave behind when he can no longer do what he does, a legacy that will hopefully motivate and inspire others including his own grandchildren to help them achieve their own goals and dreams. His motto is ‘never underestimate your potential, follow your dreams’.

If anyone would like to read his biography ‘The Man Inside His Machine’, please feel free to email him at or message him on FB/Twitter.   

Email -
Mob - +44 (0)7756 444693
We are fundraising for Kate's Home Nursing charity, please support the 1000 marathon challenge
by making a small donation to
-Steve & Teresa Edwards

Friday, December 21, 2018

2018 Inspiring People of the Year Alberto Perusset

Barefoot Runner, 30 Years Vegan with over 200 Lifetime Marathons

Alberto Perusset from Argentina has run 170 marathons barefoot and has over 207 lifetime marathons.  Alberto's passion is running he runs an hour every day and on weekends, if he doesn’t have a marathon he does his long runs. Nutrition is very important to Alberto he’s been a vegan for 30 years.

Before running Alberto was a long distance swimmer and on the team of the very famous Olympian swimmer Daniel Carpio. They crossed the Rio de la Plata from Uruguay to Argentina in 19 hours non-stop covering 60 kilometers.  They also try to cross the English Channel from England to France but Carpio had to quit before the end, Carpio was 76 years old.  Alberto is a professional Scuba Driver he has worked in Argentina and the USA.  He worked many years on the beaches of South America as a lifeguard and a man of many athletic talents with a love for skydiving, as of today competed 230 jumps.

Alberto real passion is running and his goal is to run the 50 states, the 7 continents and the 6 mayors barefoot. 

Alberto is the founder and Race Director for the Malibu Half Marathon in beautiful Malibu California.   This year marked the 10 year anniversary and it sold out. Register for the 2019 marathon here

"All I do is to inspire people to have a healthy and happy lifestyle. "

Thursday, December 20, 2018

2018 Inspiring People of the Year Tony Nguyen

Type 2 Diabetes to Ultra Marathoner

If you’ve ever run a marathon, chances are you’ve probably seen a dude with spiky hair in a cape fly by. That marathon caped crusader probably high fived you, cracked a 4th grade joke or two, and then ran off to grab a GU at the aid station. That’s Endorphin Dude, and that dude is me. I run a lot of marathons. And yes, I run in a cape and you will always see a big smile on my face. These days, I can be found on the trails, as I have crossed over into the ultra world. For those not in the know, this is distances beyond the marathon. Yeah, I get a thrill in running 50ks, 50 milers, and 100 milers, and even though I may not don the cape, I am still Endorphin Dude. Every super hero has an origin, and mine is pretty dark.

Nearly a decade ago, I was an insulin dependent couch potato. I spent my mid twenties and thirties in a cubicle slothed in front of a computer. When I got home from work, I would plop myself on the couch and watch TV while shoving my face with frozen pizzas, baloney sandwiches with extra mayo, and soda. The only exercise I got was taking my dog Chewbacca to the tree right outside my front door so that she could relieve herself, and that in itself was a laborious chore. I was always overweight, but the ten years I spent in that cubicle resulted in me ballooning up to a whopping 223 pounds. Mind you, I am only 5’6″.

To make matters worse, that sedentary life style lead to many other health problems. I was barely thirty years old and had to take meds for type two diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. In my mind, though, it was ok. I kept telling myself, “Why do I have to exercise and lose weight? Modern medicine has made it easy for the obese American! All we have to do is take a magic pill and our cholesterol, glucose numbers, and blood pressure will be regulated! Give me another bacon sandwich!” Seriously, I believed that. My doctor flat out warned me that my glucose numbers had reached such an alarming level that I was two donuts away from getting my legs amputated. She punctuated that warning with this downer: “If you continue to live like this, you will not make it past 40.” I shrugged it off.

As each day of my mundane junk food filled life passed, I became sequestered in my shoe box studio apartment. Laziness and denial dragged me further into Jabba The Hut mode. The vicious fat cycle repeated itself every day: wake up, go to work, sit on my rear in a cube all day, go home, plop on the couch, shove lethal toxins in the form of Ho Ho’s and deep fried hot dogs smothered in Ranch and blue cheese, fall asleep, wake up, and repeat. The sweat from my pores turned into a glue like substance and I pretty much stuck to the couch. There were numerous occasions when I couldn’t move my toes, let alone get up to take Chewbacca out to pee. Let’s just say that for a while, my apartment smelled like a doggie urinal. Yes, it was that bad.

One day, the routine was broken by an unexpected event. I came home from work and collapsed on my living room floor. I thought I was having a heart attack. I felt numbness on the left side of my body and sharp pain in my chest. Chewbacca barked and ran around in circles as if she sensed she was soon going to become an orphan. I seriously thought my time was up. Fortunately, this was only a heart attack scare and not the real deal. After everything settled, I got up and took the dog for a walk. When I returned, my little dog snuggled up with me and gave me that don’t-ever-do-that-again sad puppy eyes. This was the turning point. I knew I had to make some changes in my life. I took Chewbacca for a longer walk the next day. The following day we went further. Before I knew it, my little mutt and I were pulling out multi-mile urban hikes throughout San Francisco. The weight quickly dropped and I found myself feeling better, both physically and mentally. Walking my dog became my therapy.

Later that summer, a friend of mine said he was going to run the San Francisco Marathon. I told him I would be at the finish line cheering him on. This was brand new to me. I seriously thought a marathon was 10 miles! I also thought a 5k was a tax form. I knew nothing about about running. In any case, when all the runners came flying through the finish chute, I felt that second hand high. I wanted that feeling of euphoria for myself. I turned to the random stranger next to me and proclaimed, “I’m going to run this marathon next year!” I needed to say it out loud so that I would be held accountable. I stayed to the end and cheered on every runner. When the last marathoner crossed that finish line, I went home and researched all that I could on training for marathon.

Because I am not a naturally born athlete, I had to start from scratch. I remember running that excruciatingly painful first mile. I went out way too hard. I didn’t know anything about pacing. It took me a few weeks to find my groove. I kept at it everyday and after many weeks of training, I successfully ran my first half marathon in October 2009. When I crossed that finish line, I felt like I had just won the Olympic gold medal. All my hard work was coming to fruition and it excited me even more to continue the marathon training.

Once the endorphins wore off, reality sunk in and I quickly realized that running 26.2 miles was a lot harder than the half marathon. I finally understood what runners meant by “the wall.” It frustrated me to no end that I could not go beyond 18 miles! It got to the point where I had to play mind games to get me through those tough miles. In my head, I created an alternate world where I transformed into a superhero who needed to save the world, one couch potato at a time. During my training runs, I played this video game in my head, and every time I reached another mile, I would receive an energy pellet. I rewarded myself bonus points for dodging cars, knocking out coyotes on the trail, and side swiping bikers. All of a sudden, the pain I endured from miles 15 through 22 turned into a fun little quest to get to that finish line. Endorphin Dude was born!

On July 25, 2010, I ran my first marathon in San Francisco. When I crossed that finish line, I saw all the blood, sweat, tears, and GU flash before my eyes. What an incredibly surreal moment, one that felt like a euphoric out of body experience. I had never ever felt runner’s high to that degree. I knew that day that I would replay that moment in my head, over and over again, for the rest of my life. I was on that runner’s high for days, and I admit, I wore that medal around my neck when I took Chewbacca for her walk. My legs, knees, and thighs may have been completely banged up, but my heart kept yearning for more.

The San Francisco Marathon was supposed to have been my one and done bucket list race, but running makes me feel like a super hero. I am Endorphin Dude!  Who would have thought that the guy who had a heart attack scare would become the Marathon Caped Crusader?  I am definitely experiencing a cardiac infarction of the euphoric kind these days.

Since that life changing day back in 2009, I have run over 165 marathon and ultras, with seven of them being 100 mile endurance races. These days I run more trail ultras than road marathons, and I opt not to wear the cape. The reason is simple: I don't want it to get caught on a branch! Make no mistake though, I will never forget my humble beginnings. Over the past decade, I have experienced euphoric highs and heart breaking lows, but at the end of the day, I am still doing this. I have found peace in running. I truly appreciate every aspect of life now. I really like the person I have become. A healthy dude is a happy dude. Life is good!

-Tony Endorphin Dude 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2018 Inspiring People of the Year Violeta Heister

100 Marathons to 100 Milers

The Love for the Sport
It is a long story to summarize my journey, my joys, my struggles and my love of running, but I will give it a shot not to make it too long.

A little background about who I was before I discovered the love for running. All my life I struggled with weight issues and was never active, now I mention this because it took me a lot to be where I am right now. Life happens and we have the option to be defeated or to rise from the ruins left by the turbulence in our lives, for me was a sad lonely childhood where I was bullied over my weight, an abusive relationship that destroyed the little self-esteem I had, subsequently making alcohol an outlet to my reality. When I finally broke out of this bad situation and found in running a passion, a healthier way to cope, and the sensation of being free, I was in a bad car accident leaving me with fractures in my spine that by a miracle was only immobile for a few months. I know that running was a huge part of my recovery along with the support of my family and fellow runners. Since then I been setting goals for myself and I wish people would understand that goals are not only about who comes in first but about setting incredible goals of your own and the satisfaction of being able to achieve every one of them.

Charlie Alewine Racing

The very first thing was to give thanks to life for giving me another chance to keep running, now had only ran 2 marathons when I had the accident and I set a goal to run 1 marathon each month for the year 2011, I ended up running 20 marathons that year.

After that I had a year where my marathon times improved by up to 1hr (no downhill marathons) and followed by many personal best times, as all this was happening another little miracle happened in my life, I found out I was expecting a little girl, my husband has always been so supportive of my life style, and with the approval of my doctor I set another journey to run as many marathons and half marathon’s with my little peanut. I ended up running 5 marathons and 5 half marathon’s and 1 5k all up to the 8 month of my pregnancy. It was a wonderful time and I got to share many miles with my baby bump. I think coming back from my pregnancy was harder than coming back from a fractured spine, but I got down to a healthy weight and again shared many miles with my little one while she enjoyed the time in her running stroller.

By this point in my life I had run over 60 marathons and I realized I was closer to another dream of mine to complete 100 life time marathons, I there and then set the date where I would like to run my 100 marathon. The next year I ran and ran marathon after marathon and even double marathon (two marathons in two days), triples and even I did 7 races in 7 consecutive days (3 half marathons and 4 full marathons). That year I ran 29 marathons leaving only a few more to finish from January to March, of course I chose my very first race to be my 100th. March 2017 at the LA marathon finally after years of up and downs I was able to see my dream come to a reality and was accepted to the 100 Marathon Club of North America. Having completed 100 lifetime marathons/ultras I set to better my times and after years of hanging with the same 4:25 PR I did it. It takes a lot of work, dedication and lots of discipline to get to where you want but soon enough PRed my time to 4:15 and from there on again PR’ed every race I did after that 4:15. Was averaging 10 to 20 min PR per repeat race that year, and on my quest to improve my endurance I registered to run 7 marathon in 7 days I think this was the turning point to my running and where I found out I was able to endure many days of running, running the Summer 7 was an eye opening experience and with a little encouragement from my peers I registered to run my first 50 miler and first 100 miler.

I had talked to fellow runners about their experience when running 100 miles and thought that’s insane I could never do that. IT’S CRAZY, right?
And so it began my ultrarunning journey, running 50 miles in the mountains was so incredibly magical, it was an experience I’ve never had, climbing to summits and see the peace and tranquility of those majestic mountains it was breathtaking. I fell in love with the distance and the ultrarunning community. And with any good season of running, injures come too… I got injured from my Achilles tendons and decided to take a break and at the same time have surgery to correct a condition in my abdomen. That was a real set back but I knew it had to be done for my own good and to let my overworked tendons and surgery to recover. Finally after two months of resting and recovery I was cleared to run. It was scary to think I had only a few months to get back to at least marathon shape and had that 100 miler around the corner, starting from 0 again, so what do you do? You train like a beast! Putting 100’s of miles a week for the next couple of months, ran 12hr events, marathons events to get ready as well. The big date got here, April 2018 at Beyond Limits Ultrarunning completed my first 100 miles. Another big dream a dream I thought it was crazy at one point, a dream that became a reality.  The next month in May ran my second 100 miler at Born to Run Ultra, it is a wild dream running your first 100 miles but doing back to back 100 milers when you just completed your first was just crazy awesome for me!

It took a while to recover and signed up for my 3rd in attempt in August at 100 miles and I knew this one was going to be hard in the mountains so I again trained like a beast all summer, climbing mountains getting myself more familiar with the trails and learning as much as I could for running in elevation of over 7000ft high, unfortunately things don’t go as planned and dropped at mile 82 due to stomach issues, Kodiak100 is unfinished business. It was a wonderful experience anyhow, it gave me the fuel to fire my passion for running even more and as I was recovering and letting my legs heal I signed up for my next adventure, 100 miles at Boundiful Endurance Runs for November. This was my 4th attempt and my 3rd 100 miler buckle earned this year but is only November and the year hasn’t end yet and my 5th attempt to another 100 miler will be at Across the Years Ultra, hopping to wrap up the year with my 4th 100 mile buckle of 2018. 

I am a rookie at running 100 milers, it’s been my first year, going from marathon distance to 100 miler distance and I am still learning but what can you do when you love the distance, when you run to be free, when you run because you just love to be out there running, not just for hours but running for days with other amazingly crazy ultrarunners, You just RUN!

There is no moderation when you go to the dark side of ultrarunning, and come next year I know I will try to do one 100 mile distance every month, of course not everything goes to plan and I might survive some and I might just won’t be able to complete others but it’s all part of being and ultarunner.

I hope you enjoy reading this small portion of my journey and see that if you believe and really want something in life you can accomplish what you set your mind to!  

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2018 Inspiring People of the Year Kit Brazier

66 Years Young, Grandmother of 20 and a Ultra Marathoner

I started running in the early 70's and ran for UCLA track and cross country for 2 years.  UCLA had a small team of runners - just 7 women.  I was able to run through most of my 8 pregnancies - which included 9 children.  I got a set of twin boys at the end.  I can't remember not loving to run.  

As I got older I shifted to ultra distances and have made the most amazing life long friends - basically we are a big happy family.  I have run 83 marathon/ultras.  In 1977 I did a 50K in 5:20 in Camarillo, Ca.  My fastest marathon time is 3:29.  I have finished 4 100-mi. races.  I am 66 years young and am still signing up for races.  

I will run Jackpot in Nevada - I am a Legacy runner for that race, Vol State 314 in Tennessee and heaven only knows how many others.  I am so blessed to be able to run these races.  I have 20 grandchildren with 1 on the way.  5 of my nine kids have run marathons and my 3rd son Seth just qualified for Boston.  They are all runners - including my husband who doesn't want to admit he is a runner.  

Running as a family has brought us closer together.  I like Jeffrey R. Holland's quote " Don't you quit - you keep walking, you keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead."  I feel running has not only made me a better person but has helped me be a better wife and mother.  There is nothing better than helping each other get to the finish line.  

Monday, December 17, 2018

2018 Inspiring People of the Year Priscilla and Rieko

Courage, Strength, Faith and Love

Yolanda, Thank You for the inspiration and motivation You give all of us. Rieko similarity has been My True Inspiration and Champion to Be My Authentic Self.

It is the Ultramarathon community of Friends have helped make Our Transition  as a Married Now Same Sex Couple and Priscilla’s Transformation so wonderful.
It has been through Running and Fitness together Rieko and I have grown deeply as a loving Couple and We always try to Run Races side by side whither its a 5K or 72 Hours. It’s infectious the inspiration and joy we get running together and spending time with our Dear Ultrarunning Friends.

I, Priscilla have been dealing with Serve Gender Dysphoria for My Entire life and have identified as Transgender. This Year after Running 100 Miles and Beyond in Full Firefighter Gear at the Jackpot Ultra and the Beyond Limits Ultra with Rieko by My side I truly knew anything is possible. 

It was these two very tough experiences gave me and Rieko the Strength to start paving the way for My eventual Transformation.
Unfortunately this was briefly sidetracked after a Hate Crime Occurred and I was Assaulted by another Firefighter on Duty for being Different.
This tested our resolve greatly. With Rieko’s love and motivation along with the Support of our Ultramarathon Friends we came out of it with more clarity than ever.

Since July Priscilla has been Transitioning to Her Authentic Self and Rieko has found even more motivation and joy in our life together. Running and Fitness has a whole new meaning as we truly see how non judgmental and supportive the Ultramarathon Community is.

During the tough times our Ultramarathon Friends Reaching out has made such a Wonderful Difference.

Thank You Yolanda for All of Your Love and Support.
-Priscilla and Rieko Lyell

Sunday, December 16, 2018

2018 Inspiring People of the Year Cheryl Symons

She's a 3X Ironman, and Over 300 Marathons/Ultras
Cheryl Symons (48, from Melbourne Australia)

I don’t think of myself as an athlete or even being athletic.  When I was younger I avoided playing most sports however that is also when my athletic ambitions started.  In Australia we had a television show on a Saturday afternoon - Wide World of Sports which ran small segments on sporting events all around the world, and I remember watching the Hawaii Ironman and being absolutely in awe.  So after spending my 20’s working and partying and my early 30’s still working long hours and coming out of a relationship, I decided it was time to do something for myself and to build some personal confidence.  I initially decided that that something was running, but in the back of my mind the thought of being an ironman was there.

With no real running background, other than a few laps of an icon Melbourne landmark – ‘The Tan’ I bought a book containing a few marathon plans and followed it religiously and 15 months later ran my first marathon.  Dehydrated and exhausted at the end I declared to my parents patiently waiting for me at the finish that I would never do that again.  Fast forward to November 2018 (14 years later) and I have just completed my 300th marathon/ultra and hope I will still be running strong for many more years.  I have also finished 3 ironmans and ironman is actually what led me to Ultras.
As I said, I don’t consider myself to be an athlete. 

I honestly believe and regularly say to other runners and non-runners, that if I can do it anyone can.  I’m not fast, I’m not skinny, I’m not physically strong – but what I do have in spades in determination and a never give up attitude.  One of my favourite sayings is Death Before DNF (Did Not Finish).  I ran the final 13 miles of a 50km trail run with broken ribs a few years ago and never once did it cross my mind to quit.  But, everyone is different and I understand why for others stopping is the right course of action.

I enjoy exploring my physical and mental limits through running and will often be seen smiling away to myself whilst on the road, trail or track for no particular reason other than the pure joy of being out there.  In the last three years I have discovered fixed time races and love them.  I’ve done quite a few 24 hours events and stepped up to the 48 hour this year and have a strong desire to graduate to the 6 day plus events next year.

It’s a rare occasion to see me with headphones in – I enjoy the quiet time, thinking or simply choosing not to think or chatting to old friends and making new ones.  My motto the last few years is simply that life is short and you need to live it whilst you can.  If you want to do something give it a go don’t have regrets.  It doesn’t matter if you come first, last or somewhere in-between enjoy the experience and remember to smile for the cameras.

219 Marathons
3 Ironman Triathlons
81 Ultra-marathons (23 are 100 miles or greater)

Fastest marathon :           3:52:25
24 hour PR          :               118.37 miles
48 hour PR          :               195 miles