Everyone needs a way to escape. Michelle Walker, of Newburgh, Ind., prefers running. The mother of six has run 60 marathons over the last six years. Running helps her focus on her children and their needs, work on her to-do list, and keep her priorities straight.
Walker, 43, ran her first marathon six years ago with her husband, Allen, and has continued running ever since. She says each marathon is a challenge that keeps her headed toward her goal of running marathons in all 50 states and on all seven continents.
All that running has made her the No. 2 ranked Best Frequent Female Marathoner in the United States for 2012. The ranking is based on a study by Dr. Dave Trautman, professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina.
With six kids ranging in age from 18 to 3, Walker often is faced with the question of how she finds time to train for marathons. She says her main source of training is the actual running of marathons.
Walker has continued to get faster. Her goal has been to run the Boston Marathon, which requires a qualifying time of 3 hours 45 minutes for her age group.
“It took me five years and four months before I qualified for the Boston Marathon,” says Walker. “I kept pursuing that goal even though it took so much longer than I thought.” Since qualifying, she has posted 15 qualifying times and will finally run in the Boston Marathon on April 12. Her personal best came in Hartford, Conn., at the ING Hartford Marathon in 2012, when she posted a time of 3 hours 30 minutes.
Walker has used her running as a way to try to show her kids as well as others that it’s possible to accomplish your goals.
“I want to encourage others to never lose sight of their own dreams,” she says.
Walker has run marathons in 42 states, as of early March. Recently, she ran marathons in both Antarctica and South America, bringing her continent total to three.