The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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25 races down, 26 to go

Suzy Holt Goodwin
Suzy Holt Goodwin

Suzy Holt Goodwin '03 considers herself a “Jane Average” runner.

“I have a full-time job, she said. “But I'm always training for something.”

In 2009, she completed six marathons and an ultramarathon — all part of her goal to run marathons in all 50 states plus D.C. before she reaches the age of 40.

“It's become a part of me,” Suzy said. “It helps me stay in shape and, as I move around, it introduces me to areas. I see places I would never have visited otherwise.”

The marathon bug bit while she was a senior at UNCG and a sorority sister completed a marathon.

“I was fascinated with it and asked all kinds of questions. She invited me to train and run with her.”

After that first race, she did another. “I had to prove to myself it was not a fluke,” she said. “And with travel for work … before I knew it I had double digits under my belt.”

She began a blog about her journey with wrap-ups of each race, including that first race. She's now completed 23 marathons and 2 ultramarathons, including the famous Boston Marathon.

The main reason she began writing was to simply keep family and friends updated about her marathons. Then she found it was a good way to reach out to other runners, some of whom she's met at other marathons. It also provides closure for each race, such as the Steamtown, Penn., marathon.

“I chose it because it had a fast course. I had built it up in my head,” she said. “But it wasn't a good race. I ran too fast at the beginning. Writing my entry for the race and what I learned was a little bit therapeutic. There's something to be said for that.”

Connecting with a group of runners also helps when she's seeking advice about a tricky run — such as the time she ran the National Marathon in Washington, D.C., on a Saturday and then ran the Ocean Drive marathon the next day in N.J.

One person told her: When you're at the starting line of the New Jersey race, run the first few steps whether you want to or not. Its been good advice she's used at other times.

For now, she's training for two marathons in Alaska, where she lives with her husband, Trey Goodwin '01. Appropriately enough, Suzy works for a benefit management company as a health educator, which includes helping people quit smoking and encouraging them to exercise and eat right.

While she spends her days helping people, Suzy uses her early mornings to get in some runs before the day begins. It helps that the sun rises at 4 a.m. and doesn't set until 11 p.m. at this time of year.

Because it's still so sunny in the evenings she has to hold herself back from running again, she said. Alaska has a particular beauty with gorgeous mountain ranges as a backdrop to her morning runs. Along the way, Suzy has encountered moose and a fox. Saturdays are reserved for longer 20-mile runs.

As lovely as those runs are, there's something about actually participating in a marathon. “A marathon challenges me every time. You know you're going to have 26 miles of pain and challenges and overcoming challenges.”

Does reaching the finish line ever get old?

“I love the finish line, but the starting line is almost more exciting,” she said. “Whenever you step up there, you know you're going to have a life-changing experience. That's exciting.”

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Last updated: Tuesday, 04 October 2011
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