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.

Comments (18)
  1. Mike says:

    Now that is an incredible feat! Walking at 83 is an accomplishment, but running is extraordinary. It would think she has incredibly well built knee joints in order to take that type of abuse and I wonder if not being pushing her body in her early years helped with her ability to push it now. Congratulations, you deserve it!

  2. MAJ says:

    Amazing. May she run until she is 100. Age is just a number.

  3. jan says:

    More power to her. I’m 81 and I can’t even run one block, but at least I can still walk a few miles every day.

  4. pam says:

    That’s a great accomplishment!! I wonder how she was able to recieve her medal and finisher shirt when the rules state there is a 6 hour time limit and that no medal and shirt will be awarded after 2:15 p.m.- no exceptions. I’m sure there were other participants that if given the option would have walked the course also if able so they too could be awarded a medal and finisher shirt.

  5. Don Juan says:

    I would run, I would run after the cute reporter on this story.

  6. Boberto says:

    Wow may she be an inspiration to us all, god bless her.

  7. sw says:

    All I can say is “WOW” – that is amazing. I am 53 and could not keep up with this person. Congrats!

  8. Chuck Julson says:

    Thanks for all the great comments. I’m a relative that was out there yesterday with her. She is amazing. For Pam if you need to know or are upset somehow by an 83 yr. old getting a finishers medal and t-shirt, one of her children who finishes the race earlier gives her their medal and t-shirt. I would say she is a lot more deserving of those than the people who finish in under six hours. If you want a medal and t-shirt then you can go do the race too. Good Luck!

  9. Susie says:

    Well said Chuck….my thoughts exactly… Congrats on finishing the marathon. Your a true inspiration !

  10. LuAnn Wickeham says:

    Congratulations young lady, you’re amazing and an inpiration. I started running at 50 and after reading this will certainly dream and push and believe I can continue running at 80+.

  11. Lindsay Shvetzoff says:

    There’s always somebody who feels the need to add their dramatic and meaningless two-cents to such an inspiring story. Please stop with the negative remarks, she deserves WAY more than a medal and shirt. If you feel that strongly about something so stupid. Talk about it elsewhere, please. Thanks 🙂

  12. Chelsea says:

    I think Pam is upset she herself didn’t receive a medal. Sorry Pam, It takes heart. You clearly lack this. Shame on you for your unnecessary comments.

  13. April says:

    Thank you Lindsay and Chelsea!! Yes she is an amazing and beautiful person and thank God people like Pam cannot take that away from her. Pam what if you felt good about something you’ve accomplished 53 times just to read something negative from someone like you. As far as her “walking” the course?? Im her Granddaughter and I was out of breath just trying to keep up with her during the last miles. Ok I’ve spent enough energy on you. Grandma I Love You and you always ROCK!!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Watch & Listen LIVE