Running Down a Dream
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At 14 years old, Micah Hovland is among the youngest participants in this year’s marathon.
When I was nine, I decided I wanted to run a mile a day for a year, on average. Usually, I’d run three miles every three days, but if I didn’t run on vacation or something, I’d come home and run seven miles, or maybe run two every day for two days, to make it up. After the year, I kept with it, because it’s an easy way to stay disciplined and I enjoyed it. Running clears my head. I like to engineer things. I built a tree house when I was 10, a go-cart a couple of years ago, and just redid all the trim in our living room for my mom. I was teaching my little cousin how to drive that go-cart this summer when he accidentally peeled out on my foot and I couldn’t train for a week. Other than that, training’s been going great. Last year’s winner is actually friends with my cousins, and he slept in my bed the night before the marathon. I never got to meet him, but I did the math. A five-minute-mile is like 12 miles per hour. That’s insane! I can’t even run that for, like, half a mile. I just hope to maintain a nice 10-minute mile. I’m feeling pretty confident and really excited. This won’t be my last one, I’m pretty sure.
At 85, Jeannine Julson is the oldest female Twin Cities Marathon racer.
I took up running when I was 58. I’d never been athletic in school—I couldn’t even do a pushup. But when I watched my husband run the Twin Cities Marathon in ’83, I saw these people coming in at the back and thought, I could do that. I ran my first marathon, the Twin Cities, in ’86, and got kind of addicted. I’ve run 54 marathons so far. I’ve always been at the back of the pack, though. I think my best time was around 5:15. As I got older, I got slower, and now sometimes it’ll take me seven or eight hours. I’m sure that when I tell my family I’m going to run another one they think, Oh no. I wish she wouldn’t. It’ll take all day! But they don’t complain—at least not to me. The finish line closes after six hours, but I always cross it anyway, because it feels good, official or not. I’ll turn 85 four days before this marathon, my 55th. If I can run 55 at 85, I’ll be happy. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to quit. I want to keep doing marathons as long as I can. I know that sounds crazy. Maybe it’s good to be a little crazy.
Minnesota native Carrie Tollefson, a 2004 Olympian at 1500 meters, is running her first 26.2-miler just five months after having given birth to her second child.
I’ve been doing commentary for the New York City Marathon for four years now, but I haven’t ever run one. I figured it was time for me to practice what I preach and get out there and run 26.2 miles. Of course, no woman in her right mind could properly train for a marathon this soon after giving birth, so this is not a race for me. It’s a run. I’m a mom now. Plus, I’m that mom. I don’t want to skip a dinner with my family, because I might miss something Ruby says or a smile from Everett. I’ve been this elite athlete my whole life, and that has always come first. Now it’s time for me to put my family first. Can I still run really fast? Heck, yeah! When I sneak in short training runs with my husband and pull out a six-minute-mile pace, part of me thinks, Okay. I still got this. But I’m a middle-distance girl. The farthest I’ve run before this was 22 miles, years ago, when I took a wrong turn running around the lakes. I’d have to run 26 miles very, very fast to break three hours. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be thrilled to see a 2. Even 2:59:59. But I’m not going to be bummed if I don’t. This is a journey, and it’s supposed to be a fun one. Hopefully it will help me lose this little baby belly, too.
The Distance Junkie
Ultramarathoner Paul Holovnia regularly tackles 50- and 100-mile races around the country and placed fourth overall at last year’s Black Hills 100.
My first 100-mile trail run was in Leadville, Colorado. At about 10,200 feet above sea level, it’s the highest incorporated town in North America. I made it about 60 miles before dropping out. The next year, I got to the finish, but it was slow, like 29-and-a-half hours. A few more attempts and I got my time down under 25. You see two sunrises. You have to somehow eat a few hundred calories every hour, even though you don’t want to. You sleep on the trail, kind of, while you’re running. You hallucinate. You slog through rivers. You experience a lifetime of emotions—the highest highs and the lowest lows. It’s an adventure. I love that about trail running. You get to be a kid again. My running group meets two mornings a week for 10- to 15-mile runs, whether it’s 30 below with a foot of snow on the ground or 100 degrees and humid, and I still make it to work by 7:30. I’ll run up to 30 miles on Saturdays and Sundays, too. Training for a marathon, I’ll actually cut my weekly mileage back and introduce speed work, since it’s not the distance that’s a challenge, but rather how fast I cover it. I sit behind a desk 12 hours a day, so this is my stress relief. My routine. I get up and run in the morning like people brush their teeth. For me, not running is the worst thing in the world. I can’t imagine life without it.