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Macon Chronicle-Herald - Macon, MO
  • Never say never

  • One woman ran 100 races in 10 years. Read her inspiring story here
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  • After Sandy Smith, 48, did her first 5k in 2002 she said she would never do a race again. Now, 10 years later, Smith has run 101 races.
    "I learned to never say never," laughed Smith.
    When Smith was in high school she was very active. She participated in softball, basketball and track. But when she graduated and got a desk job, her eating habits led to drastic weight gain.
    "I actually gained like 40 pounds the first year out of high school," said Smith. "Both of my parents died in their 40s so when I got closer to 40 I knew I needed to be healthier."
    So in her late 20s Smith began walking and doing aerobics. And in 2001, she got a job at the YMCA.
    "My job is to be healthy," said Smith. "And I can't be a good role model for someone else if I don't do it myself."
    In the next year, a coworker convinced Smith to do her first 5k in Kirksville.
    "I hated it so much," said Smith. "I told her I would never do a race again. And I didn't until two years later."
    In 2004 Smith ran her second race and placed in her age group. The races took off from there.
    Smith has participated in 76 5k's, two two-mile races, two four-mile races, two five-mile races, one 8k, three 10k's and 14 half marathons.
    "When I started I didn't have a goal in mind to run so many," said Smith. "I just wanted to outrun my bad genes—and not the jeans you wear."
    Smith has every race bib in a scrapbook with where the race was, her pace, her place, how many people participated and sometimes who she ran with written next to it.
    "I don't know what made me keep them," said Smith. "But I'm glad I did."
    In addition to Smith's bibs, she has her many race medals on display in her living room. And next to the hanging medals is a table with a single picture.
    "This is my best friends daughter, Katie," said Smith while picking up the picture frame. "She has cerebral palsy. I just know if she could run she would. This is my inspiration. When people ask why I run, I said because I CAN."
    When asked how it felt to finish 100 races, Smith said: "I was thankful to God that I have had the health to do the activities he has allowed me to do. The miracle isn't that I finished, but that I had the courage to start."
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