I am very fortunate to receive a great deal of email and letters from people I have met on my travels. I would say 99.9% of them are extremely positive. Without a doubt I know I have my detractors and I am fine with that. I remember all of the people who send me missives but every once in a while, one really stands out. This time it was from a woman named Ginger.
You might be automatically thinking of Ginger from Gilligan's Island, and I have a feeling in her day, this Ginger would have rivaled the other's for beauty.
This Ginger I had the pleasure of meeting at the Long Beach Marathon Expo this past weekend. Running her 51st marathon (if it was only her 52nd it would have been so much more poetically perfect), Ginger was 67 years old and looking to just have a great run on a relatively forgiving course. Well, she did more than that. In fact, since her email was so pleasant, I asked her if I could share parts of it with you.
"I met you at the Long Beach Expo on Saturday before Sunday's Marathon! I bought your book and loved what you wrote above your signature. I thought about those words throughout the run. I also began reading your book the night before the race so that I would fall asleep inspired. It worked. I ran my personal best, AND qualified for The Boston Marathon!"
She did indeed. And not only was her time enough to get her into Boston, it was a pretty impressive time nonetheless! She ran a 4:44:02 (4:52:01, chiptime - there is the 52 I was looking for!) Ginger continues:
"Dane, thank you for being at the expo and saying the words that I used as my mantra. As an older runner, 67 years, even though I have completed 51 marathons, I have only in the last 7 years gotten focused and began to believe that I am doing something that not very many other older women are doing. I always discounted being a runner and, while proud, I just didn't "get it," that the goals I began to set for myself, once attained, had a direct influence on all aspects of my life: marriage, career, family, friends, and peers. I am conscious that an athlete has a responsibility to be a role model. I work on that daily. Running has made me a better, kinder, more well rounded, and aware of life's possibilities person."
Could there be more perfect words for how to live one's life? Ginger then concludes with:
"My heart is very full and I know how lucky I am to be part of the running world. Great good luck to you, Dane. I will follow your website. My husband and I enjoyed meeting you."
Well, Ginger, the pleasure was mine. And please know you will be inspiring many others today.
Way to go Ginger! I only wish that I could still be running at that age. But thats still a long way off to even be thinking about. Good luck in Boston!
Ginger, your story is inspiring to say the least!! I just started walking/running 3 years ago, and you give me hope that I may make it to Boston some day. Thank you.
Ginger is my hero! What a wonderful story of inspiration! I'm a 36 year old marathoner now, but I hope to be a "Ginger" myself someday.
Best of luck in Boston, Ginger! :)
Great job, Ginger! Nice working running a BQ time for a woman in her early forties! You certainly didn't need the extra time Boston would have given you. My hope is to be half the runner you are in my sixties! Congratulations.
Congrats! Thanks for sharing your perspective! I loved your story and it really is true... age is nothing but a number. Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us!
Enjoy Boston! Do yourself a favor when you are there at the expo. Take a few minutes to go stand on the finish line and take it all in. The atmosphere is electric!!
You go Ginger! What an inspiration you are to women runners. I am a 51 year old female and ran my first marathon at 50 so I hope I will still be doing them in my 60s. Good luck at Boston!
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