Running the Marathon of Life: A Journey of Grit and Determination at 60

Our client Maripat Rhood ran her first marathon at the age of 60! She’s pictured here with her daughter at the Marine Corps Marathon. This is her story:

From Maripat Rhood

“For many, the idea of running a marathon can seem like an unattainable dream, especially if you’ve never considered yourself athletic. However, life has a way of surprising us, and sometimes, the most remarkable achievements come when we least expect them.

My own journey into the world of long-distance running began in a rather unconventional way.

‘Couldn’t Even Run for 1 Minute’

While I was never particularly athletic, both of my kids were college athletes. My son played football, and my daughter pursued track and field. It was during my daughter’s wedding preparations that I decided to start running as a way to tone up.

At that time, I couldn’t even run for a minute, but little did I know that this seemingly small decision would lead me to accomplish something truly remarkable: completing my first full marathon at the age of 60.

The idea of running a full marathon had always intrigued me, and I often felt envious of those who had achieved this impressive feat. The spark that lit the fire for me was when my daughter and I started a tradition of participating in mother-daughter long weekends, where we would run half marathons together. Over time, we completed five half marathons in different cities, creating cherished memories along the way.

Going All In!

When it came time to sign up for this year’s event, there was no half marathon available. Instead, I decided to take the leap and sign up for the full marathon, a longstanding item on my bucket list. My determination was fueled by my daughter’s friend, who was also running the Marine Corps Marathon, and my running group, who had also chosen the full marathon route.

The decision to run a marathon at 60 may seem daunting to many, but I found inspiration in the concept of “grit.” Angela Duckworth, whom I had the privilege of hearing speak at my workplace, emphasized that excellence is not solely about talent but also about purposeful practice. With this newfound determination, I committed to going all in.

My Training with an MTA Coach

My journey took a significant turn when I discovered Marathon Training Academy (MTA). After reaching out to them, I had the opportunity to consult with Nicole, who assessed my goals, fears, fitness level, and commitment. She made me realize that this seemingly insurmountable task could be achieved through gradual, purposeful improvements over time.

I was then connected with Coach Cindy, who designed a personalized training plan. The support and guidance I received from Cindy and MTA were invaluable. Here are some key aspects that set them apart from generic training plans:

  1. Accountability: Through Training Peaks, my coach could monitor my progress and ensure I was staying on track. This accountability meant no room for slacking.
  2. Check-Ins: Weekly email check-ins allowed me to discuss my experiences, any injuries or soreness, and my schedule. Monthly Zoom meetings helped me review my progress, address my fears, and set high-level goals.
  3. Hydration and Nutrition: Cindy’s guidance on proper hydration and nutrition strategies was a game-changer. I learned that eating and drinking are essential for successful long-distance running. No more hitting the wall during long runs!
  4. Community: Being part of the MTA community, connecting with other runners at various stages of their journey, and listening to Angie and Trevor’s podcast during long runs provided both motivation and a sense of belonging.

With unwavering commitment, I completed 99.99% of my workouts, missing only one due to a fever.

Marine Corps Marathon

The Marine Corps Marathon in 2023 presented its own set of challenges, including record-breaking heat and humidity. However, I was prepared. My coach, Cindy, had provided a race strategy, including adjustments for the weather. Despite the tough conditions and shortened gauntlets, I made it through, thanks to my hydration and nutrition plan.

Yes, I was exhausted and slower during the last five miles, but I didn’t hit the dreaded wall, all thanks to the preparation and guidance from MTA. The feeling of accomplishment when I crossed the finish line was indescribable. Completing my first marathon at 60, alongside my daughter, made it even more special. Our family was there to witness the moment, making it a cherished memory for all of us.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Marathon Training Academy and Coach Cindy for helping me achieve this incredible milestone. While my race is finished, I’ve decided to continue with MTA because they provide purpose and direction to my workouts.

It’s a reminder that life’s most rewarding achievements often come when we challenge our preconceived limitations and embrace the journey of self-discovery, grit, and determination.” –Maripat Rhood

One Response to Running the Marathon of Life: A Journey of Grit and Determination at 60

  1. Sharon Beck November 28, 2023 at 9:09 pm #

    I am so proud of your many accomplishments, but most of all for finishing! What a feat! Congrats MP!

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