Josie, Hayward local shares her story below on how she became the runner she is today.

““Athlete” was one of the last things I would have called myself prior to tenth grade. I struggled in phy ed and had never participated in an organized sport. That year, however, a neighbor encouraged me to join the cross-country running team. I barely finished my first race, but I had a wonderful coach and found that I really loved the challenge of running. I ran my first road marathon right after graduating from high school. Although I enjoyed it, I had a real passion for trail running. At that time, most trail runs in the midwest were ultramarathons, so I ran a number of 50ks, 50 milers, a 100km, and a 24-hour race. I got married in 1999, and since then, my husband Dave and I have enjoyed skiing, running, canoeing, biking, swimming, orienteering… pretty much any “silent” sport!             

After having kids, I continued to exercise when I could fit it in. I still loved the thrill of racing even when my training was minimal, and I also learned to enjoy pushing myself to go faster instead of just farther. I ran my first Birkie Trail Marathon in 2019. I absolutely loved the course, the volunteers, the other runners… I”ve been an enthusiastic participant in the festival ever since! This year I’ll be running the relay with my sister-in-law Elaine and my dear friend Margie. We’re all Nelsons and are nearly the same age and pace! It is such a rare opportunity to run a relay as an adult, and we had a blast the last time we joined up as a team.  

I’m so grateful for the way running allows us to build a community around a shared passion. My family was fortunate enough to move full-time to our cabin near 00 in 2020, and some other runners and I formed a trail running group. We meet at the Samuel C. Johnson Family Outdoor Center at the 00 trailhead at 6 pm on Wednesdays in the summer and fall (starting June 12th this year). It’s free and open to all ages and paces. In fact, we have had up to seven decades represented at a single workout!!! Everyone is welcome, so please come join us if you’re ever in the area on a Wednesday!  Even if you think you’re not an athlete, you may just not realize it yet”!

Pictured below: Josie competing in the Ski de She, competing in her High School Cross Country race, Josie competing in a trail run, and the OO Trail Running Crew!

Posted May 9, 2024 at 2:37 pm