Thursday, May 19, 2011

Inspired

For the past seven weeks I have been coaching the Beginning Women’s Running Program for the Minnesota Distance Running Association. We have a group of 31 women participate each week. I’ve been coaching with MDRA for 4 years now and I just love it!

Last night we had Margot Albensoeder-Madsen scheduled to speak to our group before our 40 minute run. I hadn’t met Margot before; I only knew that her presentation was entitled “Running Through the Years.” At the end of her presentation I felt like I had known Margot for many years and she had a place in my heart.

Margot was born in Germany and came to America in 1962 with her husband, Gunther. They had 4 children after they arrived to America and lived in Wayzata. Gunther passed away from a sudden heart attack in 1982, leaving his wife and 4 children behind.

When Margot spoke to us about her husband Gunther she began to cry softly. It was heart wrenching. After all of these years those feelings for him came right to the surface. She apologized and took a few seconds to herself, then stated “Gunther told me that he is here and to get it together”. I wasn’t the only one in the room crying along with her.

She went on to say that her co-workers put their money together to offer her a gift of money to show their sympathy as well as a membership to The Marsh. The Marsh is a Wellness Center in Minnetonka, still owned by Ruth Strickler as it was when Margot became a member.

Margot recalled to us how she first began to run. She was walking on the treadmill at The Marsh when Diane, a trainer who is still at The Marsh, came up to her and told her that she had a ‘runners physique’ and that she should try to run. Margot was intimidated and immediately said that she didn’t know how to run. Diane took her outside and they ran one block, then two, then three and over time she was running a mile. She loved it.

Margot began to run at 50 years of age. She then began to race, winning her age group at most races. She won the MDRA Grand Prix. She qualified for the Boston Marathon while running her first marathon at Twin Cities Marathon in 1990 with a time of 3:58, at age 52! Rockin’ hu?

Margot is now 73 years of age. 73! She continues to run, having finished 8 marathons, numerous half marathons and even triathlons. She now lives in Fairmont with her second husband of 17 years. She helps out with the Fairmont Triathlon and Fairmont 5 Mile Race. I am planning on entering one or both of these, just to meet with Margot again!

At the conclusion of Margot’s presentation I felt like she was a best friend of mine. I don’t know that I have ever been so moved by another woman before at a first meeting. I could feel the warmth and compassion come from her and felt her love for running. I tell you, she really inspired me.

We were fortunate to have Margot stay with us to take part in our running after her presentation. I led the group for a 40 minute run, then finished up with stretching.

Margot had a few more stories to tell us before we called it a night. I was just thrilled to hear her stories, I stood next to her, just beaming. I suggested to her that she write her stories down. Her stories were not only about running and racing but also about her life in Germany and her move to America.

I feel very fortunate that I was able to meet Margot Albensoeder-Madsen .

No comments: