Nancy Breen: 43-Year Runner

43-Year Runners

I had a bunch of kids by the time I was 25; I was continually running around with them, and the housework that went along with it. With all of that, I didn’t feel so hot. I figured I had to do something about it—to feel better. I started going to the Y up the street, at that started it. There was volleyball, swimming, and other activities some of the ladies and I would do to keep us fit. And then, a friend got me into a running program that they had started up, and at the end of the year, the coach told us about a five mile run in Weymouth at the fourth of July celebration that we could try. We went for it.

After that, we found out about the Bonne Bell, at 6.2 miles. “Would we want to do that?”

My sister and I, and a friend of ours decided to go for it. We signed up, and we finished it.

But it wasn’t easy. The shoes were awful. No one had running clothes. There was a woman running in 1977 with one-inch heels and nylons—actual nylon—and the whole time she was running she was asking around if anyone knew where a bathroom was. Every time the 43-year runners get together we reminisce about those early years and sometimes wonder what ever happened to that woman!

I almost missed the race in 1981 or 1982 when I was in nursing school. We had class that Monday and if I were to run, I was going to have to skip class, which was, of course, a big no-no. I was really considering not running. A fellow nurse talked me into it, and I ended up skipping class. On Tuesday I was met, first thing, by questions from the instructor on where I had been. I told her I had just run a 6.2-mile race. I got a look as if to say “unacceptable, and don’t let it happen again.”

Well, I’m still running.

Running used to help keep me fit, and it still does. I run five months of the year, mostly in training for the 10K. When I get home on Columbus Day, the running shoes go away for seven months. But it helps keep me active—I either walk or run 2.5 miles every day, I keep the house in good condition, and I do Zumba gold and tai chi.

It’s great to stay fit, to stay active, and to be coming to this race every year.