Name: Marlys Gillenmarlys-gillen

Age: 59

Hometown: Olivia, Minnesota

Age You Started Running: 54

What Motivates You: Trying to beat my previous best!

Favorite Movie: Eddy the Eagle

Favorite Thing to Eat Pre-Run: Coffee and Toast

Favorite Thing to Eat Post-Run: Fruit and Yogurt

Currently Training for: Bloomsday (May); Missoula Half-Marathon (July)

Favorite Race or Run: In state – Bitterroot Trail Run 5 Miler (2016); Out of state – World’s Fastest 5k (Carlsbad, CA 2014)

Favorite Hobby: Reading Autobiographies

Why did you start running? I started running for health reasons. I was hit by a snowmobile 40 years ago when I was 14 and at the time never realized how that would impact the rest of my life with chronic foot pain. About eight years ago I was told by an orthopedic doctor that I would need full foot reconstructive surgery and not to do anything high impact as it could rupture my Achilles. However, I refused to have surgery and after trying other treatments was encouraged by my brother to start running (which I wasn’t supposed to do). First a block, then around the block, a mile and then two, three and four. Up and down the M and hills around Missoula and three half-marathons later my foot pain was subsiding. Running was stretching my Achilles, increasing my vertical flexibility, building muscles and giving me the mobility in my foot I hadn’t had for years and at the same time lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Although I still have arthritis in those joints and bone spurs my doctor encourages me to keep moving. I will eventually need to have the bone spurs removed and the joints fused in my foot but for now I’m enjoying every running day I have!

Anything else you’d like to add: Never stop believing in yourself and once you finally realize you’re a runner pass on your story, inspiration and encouragement to other new runners. And I would like to give a shout out to my brother Roger Schultes for encouraging me to start running, Mary Pat Malerk who encouraged me as a beginner and Jenny Newton who makes me faster!

Words of Wisdom: As you get older eat less, move more!