Heather Ellis near the finish of her first trail marathon. Way to rock it, Heather!

I can’t get enough of runner stories — how runners got started with this sport, why they keep at it, where and when they’re running, all of it. Which is why I really want to feature fellow runners on this blog from time to time. I think we all can learn a lot from one another, as well as keep each other motivated and encouraged. Today I’d like you all to meet Heather Ellis, a 26-year-old marathoner who lives and runs in southwest Michigan. I “met” Heather through my Facebook page. (shameless plug: if you’re not already part of the tribe there, please come on over to my page and join the conversation!) Heather, who recently completed her first trail marathon, the North Country Marathon in Manistee, MI, generously agreed to share her runner story here. Read on…and let me know if you’d be interested in being a featured runner.

Meet Heather Ellis …

How it all began…Running started for me when I was in high school. I went out for track with a friend and only lasted a season in track. I didn’t like the short distances and could tell I’d be an endurance runner. I sporadically ran during my teens and felt the pull to run more often when I was in college. That’s where my distance started. I’d go out for 1 to 2 hours and loved the time to myself and my thoughts.
Without running in her life…I could look at my running and justify it by saying that it is just exercise, but, honestly, it’s much deeper than that. I run because it makes me feel better about myself. I run for that time when I’m lost in myself or my life and need clarity. I run because it gives me a goal to work towards, sometimes a seemingly impossible goal, but yet I achieve it. I run because I know each run impacts so much more of my life than just that time on the pavement or trail.
Favorite running-related memory…Hmm.. that’s a tough one. I can think of many runs that blur together, which all gave me the same feeling. I used to run really early in the morning, like at 4 am. I have many memories of being beneath starling and the moon running along the shores of Lake Michigan. There’s something very freeing about being so close to nature so early in the day when everyone else is in their slumbers and unaware of the majesty that is outdoors.
Someday…I would love to run in the redwoods in Northern California or Oregon. Also, it was so gorgeous when I went to Alaska, I would love to run in the woods there too.
Absolute favorite race…My favorite race would be one where I was immersed in the woods with few other runners. I think it would be great to do a marathon with my sister someday.
Next up…My next race is a half marathon in Holland at the end of this month. The following race will be my first ultra a 33.5 mile run along the Kal-Haven trail in March 2011, then if I have the guts for it, I’ll run an ultra 50 miler in the fall.
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