Linda Ballard

posted in: Runner of the month | 0

LindaName:  Linda Ballard

Where were you born and raised?   Chicago. Moved to AZ in 1998

When did you begin running?  1980- I was watching the Chicago Marathon on TV one day and said to myself “I am going to do that next year”. In 1981 I completed the marathon in 3:43. I have a plaque for third in the 15-21 age group. Apparently not too many 21 year olds were running marathons those days!

How did you get started running? I was working in an office across from a park. I would see everyone running at the park and thought I should try that too.  I would run at the park every day after work at the same time. Jim would be at the same park at the same time.  We eventually started running the same way and talking for many miles.  That was 36 years ago, the rest is history!

Favorite distance to run: Half Marathons- They are hard but not as tough mentally as marathons. You have a chance to turn up the speed and if it doesn’t work out you can still finish. You have to make better decisions in the marathon.

Favorite race:  Chicago Marathon. The whole city comes out and it is so diverse from the dragons dancing in China Town to the Belly dancers in Greek town. It was my first as well. I ran it in 1983 Five months pregnant with Jessica. This one will always have a special place. Now Jessica will be running her 5th Chicago. This year will be our 24th Chicago and  81st marathon.

Favorite Track N Trail event: The July 4th Run at Freestone. The Bookers make this so much fun plus it is my birthday. When I was young it was hard to have a birthday party as all my friends were on vacation. Still many are always on vacation this time of year but lots are always able to come out. It is fun to see the kids enjoying themselves as well. (and being a kid too)

Favorite place to run:  Grand Canyon. How amazing to be running along the river at the bottom. Not a whole lot of running going on the way up!

Favorite Quote: Go fast enough to get there but slow enough to see!

Favorite Song to listen to while running: Depends on the run and where I am. If it is a half and I am going for time:CCR or Centerfield by John Fogarty. They are upbeat feel good songs. If trail running or the Grand Canyon: I can Only Imagine or any Mercy Me. Reminds me of who put those mountains there for me to run in. I have such a mix of oldies, Lady Gaga, church songs, and Drop Kick Murphy’s. I always think if someone found my I pod they would never think it was mine!

If you could run anywhere in the world where would it be? I would love to run a marathon in Italy or Ireland.

Advice for new runners: Just enjoy yourself. So many are too hard on themselves. We all have so much stress in our lives. Running is meant to be fun, not add more stress. It is ok to set goals. If you don’t achieve them, there is always next time. Be happy with what you can do in any given day.

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