September 2015: Juli Johnson
Juli Johnson started “secretly” running in 2001. She wanted to lose weight and earn points in her company’s employee wellness plan, as well as train for a 10K. So secret was the plan that she didn’t even tell her husband because she was embarrassed and sure she would fail. Her cover was blown when a neighbor mentioned to her husband at a T-ball game that she “was so impressed to see me out running.” Of course, her husband was very supportive of her new endeavor. Not only did Juli not fail, she earned an award from the wellness program: a new pair of running shorts!
From that humble beginning 14 years ago to now, Juli has covered a lot of ground. On day six of the recent New England Series, she simultaneously completed her 50th state and 100th career marathon. Along the way, she says she “had the honor of raising two kids who are now collegiate runners” – and got to train and run with them both in their first 5Ks, 10Ks, and half and full marathons. She also coached a class for Beginner Women Runners for many years that started several hundred women on their running journeys. For future goals, she just wants “to continue running for many, many years.”
I asked her what she likes about Mainly Marathons, and her list was as long and wide-reaching as her smile. “I love the social nature of the Mainly Marathon events – from traveling from state to state as a group, to running the out and back courses so that you can see and run with a whole bunch of different people each day to the group camaraderie. I truly love my Mainly Marathons family. I also love the low level of logistics it takes as a runner to run a Mainly Marathons race – no point to point, easy access to the start, lots of food and water – so no need to carry anything with you as you run and the fact that the courses come back to ‘home base’ every few miles so you can add and subtract layers as needed and have multiple, easy access to restrooms.”
Juli continued, “Much of my running inspiration comes from the other runners I have met at Mainly Marathons – the first timers and the ‘legends,’ plus so many examples of perseverance and amazing attitudes combine to really showcase the positives in our sport.” She finished her thoughts with, “I am also so appreciative of the ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘in front of everyone’ work that goes on for each race. Clint, Hanne, George, Kate, Cathy, Norm, Sabra, Mary, and everyone who work and volunteer for MM provide the most runner-friendly events I have ever participated in. THANK YOU!” But it is really us who should be thanking Juli, and all the others runners. Your stories and dedication inspire us to put on the best race series in the world. Thanks, Juli, and we’ll see you on the course!