APPLETON, NL – Marathon runner Jeannie Pardy is preparing for a race that will mark a significant milestone in her career.
The Appleton resident is preparing to leave for the Tokyo Marathon on Feb. 25; when she completes it, she will be the first person in Central Newfoundland to complete the Abbott World Marathon Majors.
This significant accomplishment recognizes competitors who complete six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world. The races take place in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City.
Before taking up running, Pardy smoked a packet of cigarettes a day.
“I was a heavy smoker,” Pardy said, “and I knew I did not want to put on extra weight after quitting smoking. Most smokers replace cigarettes with food after quitting.”
She decided to replace cigarettes with running. Her running circuit began with a 10-km route in Appleton.
“I did the same route for five years.”
Pardy ran in all weather conditions, and never used weather as an excuse to skip a run.
“At one time, I would start running at five in the morning. I would run in 30-below or 25-below. It was more mental toughness than anything, and I didn’t care,” Pardy said.
“There was one time I ran, it was just me and the snow plough. That was it.”
Although her passion for running has not diminished, Pardy said she is “more sensible” now.
Pardy competed in more races as her stamina and confidence improved, and set more ambitious milestones.
“I decided that before I turn 40, I am going to a marathon. My first was in Vancouver in 2006,” said Pardy.
Not expecting the gruelling experience of running her first marathon, Pardy didn’t think she would do it again.
That feeling, however, did not linger.
Not long after the Vancouver event, “I started researching for the next marathon,” Pardy said.
Every year since, Pardy continues to pound the pavement and cover more miles.
“I can do one, two, three or four marathons every year, depending on the year.”
As Pardy approached 50, she set another ambitious goal.
“My goal was to do 25 marathons before turning 50,” she said.
She met her goal and credits her husband Bob as a crucial supporter of her dedication to running.
“He is an understanding and accommodating husband,” Pardy said.
Bob also accompanies Pardy when she competes, and they use that time to travel and visit new places.
Proud of Pardy’s accomplishment of reaching her 25th marathon, Bob committed to run a marathon with her.
As a surprise, he booked a trip to Dublin, Ireland and enrolled to compete in the marathon together.
“He did not find the love as much as I did,” Pardy laughed. “It was kinda like a one-time deal.”
Pardy’s next goal is to compete in the upcoming Tokyo marathon in Japan on Feb. 25. Securing a coveted spot in the high-profile competition was a feat in itself, she said.
“There are 350,000 entrants, but they only accept 30,000,” Pardy said.
Not wanting to risk the chance of not being selected, Pardy joined a tour group and bought a spot in the competition, which cost a considerable sum.
Pardy isn’t certain what her next goal will be. She completed an ultra-marathon (a race longer than the distance of a marathon) in Alberta recently, and she “still got the Alberta bug.”
One thing is for certain – Pardy plans to run for as long as she can.
“I’ll run till I die – till I drop. I don’t want to give up running,” Pardy said.
It is the satisfaction of running that keeps her moving.
“The most satisfying thing about running is all the little stuff that bothers you – when you get out there, it’s gone. And when you get back, everything is put back into perspective. And you have a good sense of accomplishment.”