The never-ending finish line
Her best is all that matters.
Maggie Muir, of State College, Pa., has been running marathons since 2008 when she competed in the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pa. Other than the fact that she told everyone around her that she some day planned to run a marathon, she could not pinpoint what drove her to start training.
Perhaps it's because "only one percent of the population does them, and that makes me unique," the 28-year-old runner said. Also, she likes to surprise people.
She competed as a sprinter on her high school track team for one year, but her mile time was somewhere between 15-20 minutes. "Most people can walk faster than that," Muir laughed.
It wasn't until her junior year at West Minster College that she joined the cross-country team with a friend and began her life-long love affair with endurance running.
Besides the fact that running is good for your heart and your butt, Muir explains that it is a tremendous stress reliever because it physically removes the runner from outside stressors.
"Running is free. Technically you don't need shoes to run because there are people who run in bare feet," Muir said.
Although marathon running is usually an individual event for her, Muir enjoys being a part of something bigger than herself. The Philadelphia Marathon, her seventh marathon, which she ran in November 2011, officially benefits 25 charities.
"People travel from all over the world to run this marathon ... So it's nice for those couple of hours that I was a part of that, that I had that connection with them," Muir said.
On top of competing during most weekends of the year, Muir spends her weekdays teaching Spanish at State College High School.
If she had the chance to make a career out of running, she wouldn't quit her day job. "I tell my kids all the time, I love what I do. I love my job. And every single morning I am truly excited to go to school." Muir believes she can influence more people through teaching than running.
However, she inspires through both. If her student is afraid to start running, she will lace up her sneakers and run on the neighboring treadmill in the high school fitness center to make her student feel more comfortable.
"I can help my students realize that if they stick with this and they're dedicated to it…they will have a positive outcome in the end. For me, it's getting to the finish line. For them, it's being able to utilize their Spanish."
Muir admitted that not every race is her best, but she always keeps her vision of the finish line at the front of her mind.
"After mile 22, it's all in my head," she said. "It's like, you know what, you got this far. You don't have a choice. You will finish it. You will keep running."
With the help of a few more races and countless training hours, she is determined to push herself enough to qualify for the "big daddy" of marathons: Boston.
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