Page 8 - Scene Magazine 41-03 March 2016
P. 8

in Mid Life...
Michelle continued
running for Big Rapids High School but without the fanfare and success
that she has
experienced in recent years.
She took the leap at the age
of thirty-eight and decided
to enter the world of long
distance running, signing
up for her first marathon. In
October of 2007 she finished her
first marathon, the Grand Rapids Marathon, in a time of four hours
and forty-three minutes. Although she accomplished something
special in the world of running by completing such a daunting distance, her experience did not leave her with a great desire to try it again. She continued as a novice runner but left the marathon in the rearview mirror forever, or so it seemed.
Seven years later at the age
of forty-four, Michelle decided
to give the marathon another try without really much thought of the preparation required to succeed at such a distance. She entered and ran the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend Indiana the spring of 2014 without a scheme or training plan. “My most
Michelle Acton
When I first began running at the age of twenty-nine I had no aspirations of competing against others in my age group. A few years in I began to take notice of what kinds of times others
in my age bracket were turning in. I began to work harder in my training but still lacked the speed to finish amongst the top of the pack among males in their thirties. This always motivated
me but never really discouraged me.
I would always say to myself, “Give
it time. By the time you turn forty
your peers will begin to slow down.” What I found when I turned forty and began to focus on race results for this demographic was times in my new age group were in fact getting faster not slower. In the last seventeen years as
a runner I have seen our sport explode in terms of numbers of participants. I believe that more and more individuals
are signing on as runners in their thirties thus peaking a decade later. You can still go to many races and
see young runners in their twenties near or at the front of the pack but
the numbers of runners in their middle ages turning in fast times at a variety
of distances is increasing. This month’s featured runner, Michelle Acton is one such example of a middle-aged runner turning in the best racing performances of her life.
Michelle began running early on in life. At that time she showed little in terms of speed but did give a glimpse of the innate endurance and determination that she possessed. “I began running when I was 12 years old. I decided one day to run the Hasting Summer Fest without training and at that time it was 7.2 miles long and I did it in one hour, 18 minutes six seconds.”
“The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect

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