MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 20,000 people participated in Sunday’s Twin Cities Marathon and 10 mile.
Many of them have stories of inspiration, pushing them to go the distance.
One woman, an 83-year-old marathoner, said for her, Sunday’s race was about celebrating life.
“I guess I have endurance, I guess I can say that. Not speed, but endurance,” Jeannine Julson said.
When it comes to the old fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” Grandma Julson happily admits she’s more of the tortoise.
“I couldn’t even do a push up in gym in school,” Julson said.
This true-to-life “tortoise” is all about beating the odds — she’s both a breast cancer survivor and a seasoned marathoner.
“This will be my 53rd marathon — I’ve done nine New Yorks and one Washington, D.C. Marine Corps,” Julson said.
Sunday’s marathon in particular has special meaning: it’s Julson’s 83rd birthday.
At each mile marker, Julson is joined by a new family member.
They’ve been right along side of her since she made the decision to run her first marathon at 58 years old.
“I decided, I saw people in the back and I thought, ‘I can do that’ — and that’s where I still am, in the back,” Julson said.
Although the big crowd she saw at the start wasn’t there to welcome her home to the finish, in just under eight hours, Julson completed her 53rd marathon.
“I want to keep running as long as I think I can do it. I don’t know how long that’ll be,” Julson said.
Grandma Julson said she also wants people to know she ran Sunday’s race in support of her granddaughter, who is currently battling a nerve tissue disorder.