Positive running story – Maria Walberg

Our positive running story this time features Maria Walberg, a Latina runner from Flower Mound, Texas. Maria attended one of our women’s running camps this Summer, and was a huge inspiration for everyone on the camp. Maria has run the Boston marathon in her 40,s, 50s, and 60s, and is now planning to run the iconic race in her 70s as well!  I recently had the chance to interview Maria, and here is the result of our interview:

Can you share your brief running history to date?
I was pushed to start running 40 years ago shortly after my son was born. I started with shorter runs and did quite well. Eventually, I began enjoying the runs and entered a few shorter races, 10km and 15km. I became competitive at longer distances. A neighbor of mine in St. Louis was a long-distance runner and got me started marathon running. I’ve now completed 25 marathons, plus several trail runs as well as Ultramarathons. I’ve run the Boston Marathon three times. In recent years, I’ve come to enjoy trail running.

What are the top three things you enjoy most about running, and why?
I enjoy the solitude of running long distances as it allows me the freedom of thought. While trail running, I really enjoy looking the beauty of nature: the wildflowers, the animals and quietness of the outdoors. Mostly, I enjoy the elation and self-gratification of competing in distance running. It gives me great pleasure.

What has been your favorite race that you have run so far, and what was it about this race that made it special for you?
My favorite race was The Cowtown Marathon in 2011. I had just been sidelined for three years from a ski injury and thought I’d never be able to run again. The Cowtown Marathon was my first marathon following reconstructive knee surgery and what made it extra special was that I placed First in the Masters Female Division.

How has the COVID pandemic impacted your running habits, and has changing your habits opened up new opportunities for you?
The COVID pandemic hasn’t impacted my running habits significantly. Because I enjoy running long distances both road and trail, I don’t have many companions on daily runs. The greatest impact of the COVID pandemic on my running is the lack of competitive in-person organized races. I truly miss that!

You attended one of our women’s running camps this Summer. What were your biggest takeaways from the camp, and what would you say to a woman runner that is thinking of coming to one of the 2021 camps?
I thoroughly enjoyed the women’s running camp that I attended this past summer. I can say that I learned a lot. My greatest takeaway from the camp is that I gained significant confidence in my trail running capabilities. If you are thinking of going to one of the 2021 women running camps, you will have a great experience and learn a lot in the beautiful surroundings of Rocky Mountain National Park and gorgeous Estes Park, Colorado. The camaraderie of like-minded trail runners and trainers is truly outstanding!!

What wisdoms would you share with a younger version of yourself about being a woman runner, and what do you love about being a woman in her 60’s that runs?As a younger runner, enjoy the experience. You get gratification from going a little farther at a little faster pace and time. That is the competitive side of the race challenge, but don’t let it burn you out. ENJOY THE RUN! Enjoy the solitude! Smell the wildflowers! Compete with yourself.

In my late 60s and now at 70, I’m still healthy and still able to enjoy my love of running. My runs keep me feeling younger. I know my running has kept me healthier and much more agile.

If we could share a message on your behalf to the World, what would you wish to say?
We’re in it together!! Running is a unifier that brings together people from varied backgrounds and cultures. It provides a venue for competitive interaction for all to compete in.

Could you share one thing that is unique about Maria that no one would know by looking at you?
I’m unique alright, but I’m not sure that you wouldn’t know that by looking at me or hearing me. I’m pretty transparent!!

What are your running and life goals for 2021 and beyond?
My running goal for 2021 is to qualify for Boston in my 70s. I’ve run the Boston Marathon in my 40s, 50s, 60s and now my intention is to run it in my 70s. Ultimately, my life goal is to feel young, stay healthy and enjoy each day, as they come. Enjoy each experience!!
Maria, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us! Your passion for longevity in running is so inspiring, and I loved having the opportunity to run with you, a proud Latina runner, fabulous! I hope our paths may cross again in the future.

Maria, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us! Your passion for longevity in running is so inspiring, and I loved having the opportunity to run with you, a proud Latina runner, fabulous! I hope our paths may cross again in the future.

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