Women Who Move: Becky Kresel

I qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon for the first time at 57!

becky kresel crop

I qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon for the first time at 57!

Age: 57
Eau Claire, WI

I picked up running in college to help relieve stress but eventually stepped away due to a hip injury. I periodically returned to the sport while balancing a career and raising four children—but it was always a recreational thing. I never considered entering a race until I was in my early 50s.

It was my daughter Kelly who motivated me to sign up for the inaugural Women’s Running Half Marathon in St. Petersburg, Fla. As the race director for the event, she poured her heart and soul into creating the race and I wanted to be there to support her work. With my other two daughters by my side, we ran the half marathon and I fell in love with the contagious energy only a race can spark.

I continued entering races and kept getting faster. I even scored a few podium spots! Each time I lined up at the start, I set out with the goal of enjoying the environment while competing with no one but myself.

With many half marathons under my belt, I decided to push the distance and entered the Eau Claire Marathon in May 2014. In the back of my mind, I knew qualifying for the Boston Marathon was on my bucket list. But I hadn’t imagined I’d be able to check it off that list on my first attempt! Feeling strong for the first 17 miles, I held a steady pace. By mile 21, I’d slowed down and begun to struggle. Willing myself to take one step at a time, I pushed on, focusing on the finish. Finally, I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:55:55—almost 15 minutes under the Boston qualifying time for my age group!

I’m heading to Boston next month with the intention of savoring every moment of the iconic race. Knowing that I’m running a course filled with the history of a community I’ve come to adore will be an emotional experience but one I can’t wait to cross off my list!

I LEARNED to set small goals (like increasing weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent). This allowed me to build my endurance without feeling overwhelmed. Take baby steps and—before you know it—you’ll be running farther than you had ever thought possible.