Q: How long have you been a runner?

Mary Jo: I have been running since 2011. I ran my first marathon in 2014. I never considered myself a runner because I didn’t run as fast as a lot of other runners. I have learned if you run, you are a runner no matter what your pace is.

Q: Why did you start running?

Mary Jo:  I always admired seeing runners out running and wished that I could run. I never went out and tried to run because I feared that people in their cars would be judging me. Once I got over that fear, I was out there running on all the main streets. I love to hear my co-workers say to me, “Hey, we saw you out on Lake Cook running yesterday.  Looking good!” There’s that saying, “No matter how slow you go – you are still lapping everyone on the couch.”

Q: How did you find BWRC and why did you join?

Mary Jo: After training for two marathons on my own, I had thought about running a third, but I needed to do something different with my training. I did most of it at the forest preserve near my house. The loop was 3 miles and many times it was hard to get those Saturday long runs in running a loop 6-8 times. Even the deer started looking at me like I was crazy. I had contemplated joining CARA, but I was nervous about training with complete strangers whom I was sure were a lot faster than I was. I wanted to get myself out of my comfort zone and signed up to train with them. How awesome was it going to be to run with people with the same interests. Not everyone understands why people choose to run. My training was an incredible experience. I ran with the greatest pace group, my group leaders were awesome. When training was coming to an end, I thought, “what was I going to do when CARA was over?” Would I just wait until the Spring to start running again and lose all the momentum I gained throughout the summer? That’s when I heard that BWRC was being put together and it was a no brainer that I would be joining this group. I just wish that I had the same endurance as Amanda and Jim to run in those frigid temperatures. They are my heroes!

Q: Why do you run?

Mary Jo: I run for two reasons. One is for health reasons; I have genetically high cholesterol and I refuse to take medication for it. Since I have been running I have gotten my levels under control without medication. My bad cholesterol level is now in the normal range. My cardiovascular results from my last physical were the same as someone that is in high school. Running is good for my health! The second reason is I love how I feel when I run. There is nothing like those endorphins. I have found that anything is possible. There are days when I have a bad run and want to give up, but then that next one is amazing. It’s surprising to me how I can struggle during a race and think I’m never doing this again and when it’s  over, I’m already looking for the next race to sign up for.

Q: Do you have any upcoming races or goals we should know about?

Mary Jo: After trying to convince all of my friends and myself that I was done with marathons, or at least for 2018, I signed up for the Monumental Marathon in November in Indianapolis. After running all three marathons in Chicago, I thought it was time to try something new. I’m really excited for it! Sometimes I think that I’m crazy to be excited to run 26.2 miles. I am also looking forward to our upcoming half marathon road trip in Nashville in April 2019.

Q: What does BWRC mean to you?

Mary Jo: BWRC means friendships, accountability, and runners supporting runners. I love that when I finish a race and things didn’t go the way I was hoping, the group is there with hugs, smiles, high fives and that pat on the back that I need. The group is so motivating and truly cares for each and every runner. We had an amazing time at the Carmel and Wisconsin half marathons in the Spring. The best thing that I ever did was join a running group. I don’t see myself retiring from running for a long time. If I tell you that I won’t be running a marathon in 2019, don’t believe me.