Julie Ford Keeps Running Vibrant

Julie Ford ran for twelve hours last March as a competitor in the Pulse Endurance Runs around Eagle Island State Park. In that time she completed 53 miles and placed fifth overall despite some brutal, wet conditions. Those of us who know Julie were not surprised by her stellar performance. What may surprise many is that Julie took up running relatively recently. More importantly, in that time, she has made running a vibrant, natural part of her life.

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Julie in the middle of a marathon. Smiling and having fun!

In her own words: “I used to do a lot of biking…I rode across the country on my bike back in 1996. I mean I strictly, only did rode biking.” Not a run mixed in there until she moved from Ohio to Boise in 2007. While Ohio had miles of farmland roads that were ideal for bicycling, Julie found Boise’s set up more difficult: “Here it is just harder to get out and get miles.” Plus, with cell phones and texting she didn’t feel safe on a bicycle on the road anymore. Many cyclist friends of Julie were having accidents caused by inattentive drivers. Add in the many other outdoor activities, like the hiking and skiing available in Boise, and “biking kind of fell away.” Julie felt like she needed something. Enter running, but not right away.

Julie’s first race was in May of 2008 when she completed the Race for the Cure 5k. Her words: “I hated it.” It wasn’t until spring of 2010 that at some level she knew she needed that outlet lost from bicycling. Michael, her husband, started getting into running and had signed up for a race. Julie thought she could take on the 10k, then she eyed the half marathon, and then, next thing she knew, she signed up for her first full marathon: the Columbus Marathon. Facing her first big race, Julie put her training plan on a calendar and discovered that as the mileage built up and she checked off training run after training run, she could see very clearly her progress and growth as a runner. She felt a great sense of satisfaction in training for and finishing that first marathon.

Since then Julie has not let up. To date she has completed 17 full marathons, 2 ultra marathons, and 14 half marathons. She is in pursuit of completing the 50 state challenge to run a marathon in all 50 states. “It is just a neat way to see different places. It is typically only the day of a marathon where a major city is going to shut down. Where you can run through a major downtown.” She explains the joy of visiting a place she would normally not think a desirable place to visit only to discover a great city with great food, like a recent marathon trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She loved it!

The high points of her running have centered around the varied and diverse running goals she has set for herself. The twelve hour race on Eagle Island was such an experience. “It challenged me. It got me to do more than I thought I could do.” A year ago, she set out and became a Marathon Maniac by running three full marathons within 90 days. Next year, there will be something else. She is not sure what, but maybe she will complete two back to back marathons in two days. Julie believes that running should be a routine but also diverse. “I think that is when people burn out, when they are always doing that same route. Over and over again.”

Julie also strives for a healthy balance in her running social life. Running provides that needed alone time. “I love running with the BAR (Boise Area Runners), but on my long runs, I got to do it by myself. I need that time to completely zone out.” Yet, the BAR and social media have also been very important in keeping running vibrant “because, if it wasn’t for BAR, then no, I don’t think I would be doing this.” She has met so many people that provide inspiration and “everyone in the BAR is so supportive of one another.” Social media also adds to this motivation because she is aware of what others are up to and wishes them well. When someone is competing in a race, she can track them and look up their results. Running is a living part of her community.

Julie’s advice to others: “Anyone can run. Everyone doesn’t have to run a marathon. Everyone doesn’t have to run a half marathon. It’s just about enjoying it.” Words that she lives by as running has become a part of her daily life.

 

See you out on a run!

Corum Hughes Exploring Running

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Corum competing in the 2017 YMCA Famous Idaho Potato Marathon.

Corum Hughes has explored many aspects of running across his life and has come to the stage where when I asked him what was the most significant peak of his running he said, “I think I am in my high point.” Corum recently completed his second marathon this last May in the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon with a 3:37:09 after training consistently through Boise’s most brutal winter in years. He has learned many lessons and experienced many aspects of running; his story goes all the way back to his childhood.

Running started in the fourth grade in Fredericktown, Missouri. The intermediate school he attended had an old dirt track next to it. For PE class all the kids would run laps around the track and collect a straw for each lap completed. Most kids walked and socialized as they went. Corum collected the most straws out of all his classmates. His PE teacher encouraged him and later told his parents that he had a lot of potential as an athlete in life.

When Corum reached high school he ran the two mile in track. He liked the challenge and that few others were willing to run that event even though he would consistently get lapped in races. Corum was a lineman on the football team in the fall, so it was no surprise when, in Corum’s words: “Coach came up to me and said, ‘I don’t think running long distance is your thing.’” Corum finished out high school track with some successes throwing the shot put and discuss.

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Riverside, CA 5k with Molly.

It wasn’t very long before Corum was inspired to run again when he became interested in an attractive cross country runner. He ran with her, and he ran outside of running with her, so that he could get in better shape and impress her more. It must have worked since she later married him!

 

After high school, Corum ran a lot more and lost a lot of weight. “I liked the challenge of running from one town to another.” The idea of competing with himself on runs began to take hold. He enjoyed seeing how far his body could go. The high point at this stage was to run all 16 miles to a neighboring town.

His first inspiration for running a marathon came from an English professor who was in the middle of pursuing a goal to run a marathon in all 50 states. Corum learned from her that a marathon is a technical distance (26.2 miles) and the seed was planted. Later, while attending school in Chicago, Corum signed up for the Chicago Marathon. Woefully underprepared, Corum did complete the entire marathon but everything from mile 16 to the end was agony. He swore he would never run another marathon without adequate preparation.

Eight years later and a move to Boise, Corum joined the Boise Area Runners – The BAR and discovered the power of a community of runners who hold similar goals. Marathon training is much more effective when done with others with similar paces, sharing different phases and stages of a training cycle. “A lot of the lessons I have learned about running have been slowly learning how to do it correctly.” Whether that be the idea that shoes matter or overstriding slows a runner down, Corum has drawn a lot from the runners around him.

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Running in 3 degrees F during the 2017 Boise winter with the dependable BAR tribe!

Today, Corum still runs for the health benefits and to see if he can do that next marathon faster yet (he is signed up for the California International Marathon in December). But, he is also running more in the now. Instead of focusing on what will happen in the next minute or when his run is over, he takes each moment and struggle in to make the most of it. Running consistently and feeling the improvement his body makes through conscientious training, Corum is pleased to say, “I am a runner.”

See you out on a run!