As the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon celebrates 50 years of running, Maureen Peniuk will also be celebrating as she crosses the finish line of her 50th marathon. “For me, the fact that my 50th marathon coincides with the Calgary Marathon’s 50th was exciting,” says Peniuk. She also found the Calgary Marathon’s focus on running green an environmentally friendly initiative that resonated with her. Instead of picking up paper cups at the hydration stations along the route, Peniuk and other runners will be using a quick fill spout that will enable her to easily refill her own water bottle during the race.
But what makes a runner go the distance of 50 marathons? “When I first started training, I wanted to run a marathon,” explains Peniuk, “but I have endurance and I really found marathon training, especially the long runs really enjoyable. In fact, she enjoyed her training runs so much that after completing her first marathon in 2000, Peniuk realized that she had to have a marathon as her training goal. “In, some ways I enter marathons as an excuse for all my long distance training,” says Peniuk.
Through her friends who are also avid runners, Peniuk began running different races, enjoying the social aspect of the sport. As a result, the number of marathons Peniuk ran added up pretty quickly and by her 40th birthday she had completed 20. “I thought if I ran about three each year, two closer to home and one destination race, I would hit 50 marathons by my 50th birthday,” shares Peniuk. But with the addition of new marathons located closer to home, she’s ahead of the game, running her 50th marathon at 47.
For some runners, packing in multiple marathons over the course of a single year might take its toll physically but Peniuk maintains a measured approach in both her training and on race day. “Once you’ve run this many you can tell when you might need to rest,” says Peniuk, “I never want to put myself in a position where I can’t run.” And it’s her desire to maintain her active lifestyle, one that includes running marathons that will continue to fuel her next goal after crossing the finish line at the Calgary Marathon this weekend—completing 100 marathons during her retirement years in her 60s. “Lucky for me, I’ve picked up a fitness activity that I can do throughout my life.” We couldn’t agree more.