Meet the Start! Running Team planning committee- Claire Dittrich

Meet the Start! Running Team planning committee- Claire Dittrich

To get things started I thought we’d take time to introduce the American Heart Association 2011 Start! Running Team planning committee members! We’ll all be posting here from time to time!

This is Claire’s bio, in her own words! Everyone say, “hi Claire!”
— Dan (cubicle dad)

claire.jpg

I created a ‘bucket list’ years ago after being challenged by someone to write down 100 things to do before I died (a great exercise by the way!).  One of my items included running a marathon before I turned 50 (an audacious goal since I hated running more than 4 blocks).  I had to have foot surgeries so I could run, started training with a running group in 2006, went down with an injury, and was back in 2007 with my sights on the Chicago Marathon.

I ran my first half marathon in Miami (amazing), second half in Vancouver (really special as I helped a ‘rookie’ finish his first half while running him in the last 5 miles), Chicago Distance Classic half in August and ready for the big dance with Chicago Marathon in October.  Unfortunately, that was the record heat year —-  I was stopped at mile 16.5 due to the heat and hydration issues.  Acute disappointment, but I was too close to finishing my first marathon (a 15 year dream/goal), so I signed up for the Grand Rapids Marathon which was three weeks later. Wow, what a great second/first marathon experience!  An awesome, awesome, awesome day!!!

I ran and finished Chicago in 2008 (another warm year but I earned my
finishers medal this time!), traveled to Washington, D.C. with friends
to run the Marine Corps Marathon in 2009 — so inspiring with so many
runners running in honor and memory of their fallen heroes. I decided
after that emotional day and foot problems returning that I was done
with full marathons and would stick with more civilized half marathon
distances.

I came out of ‘retirement’ in January, 2010 after my
mom died unexpectedly after having a massive stroke on Christmas Day. I
needed to pay tribute to my mom, her memory and all the life lessons
she taught me. I decided to run Twin Cities Marathon as this was the
community where I grew up and my mom lived for over 50 years. Knowing
my dad, brothers and other relatives and friends would be on the course
cheering me on made the decision to run TCM an easy one.

I had
never been a charity runner before, but made the commitment to run for
the American Heart Association because my mom had chronic heart disease
the last few years of her life (although she fought hard not to have
the disease diminish the quality of her life). Representing AHA was an
easy decision, too.  Due to amazing generosity of family and friends, I
was and continue to be awestruck that I raised over $5k for AHA and its
vital mission of fighting heart disease and stroke, and positively
impacting people to live longer, better and healthier lives.

I
am delighted to be serving as a 2011 Start! Running Team committee
member.  From a running perspective, I’m slowing down a bit, but I look
forward to working with great people as we begin to assemble a running
team and work together to achieve our participant and fundraising goals
for 2011 so the American Heart Association can continue to make a
positive difference in so many people’s lives in 2011 and beyond. It’s
going to be a great year!!

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