Connie Jorgensen — the 70-year-old curator of the Clarence Smit Memorial Museum in Ripon — has spent the past five month training for the Modesto Marathon.
She finished the 13.6 mile run that took place March 19 by taking fourth in her division.
Jorgensen’s brother, Mike Araiza, started training at 56 and competed in the Boston Marathon at 68. He was at the finish line when Jorgensen crossed over to the applause of friends and fellow runners/walkers. Her husband Cliff was there, too, with a bouquet of flowers showing his pride for his wife. She was among some 300 runners and walkers under the direction of the Shadowchase Running Club teams that trained five days a week and rested for two days.
Every Saturday she met with her division team of runners and walkers in the 70-79 age group at East La Loma Park. They would go over their strategies and practice their skills on pacing their bodies and staying safe on their big day.
Jorgensen has always prided herself in reaching her goals and reaching for new achievements, being credited for making huge strides with the small museum in the Ripon community. Also running in the marathon was her sister Lenita Hoek — three years her junior — and Gaynl Trotter who was urged to drop out before the finish line due to fatigue.
Jorgensen’s impetus came last April when the Manteca Soroptimist Club hosted junior and senior high school girls at the Boys & Girls Club in Manteca to participate in their “Dream It, Be It Conference.” One of the projects everyone was assigned was to create a poster of something they wanted to accomplish in their future.
“Mine was to eat healthier, exercise and do a walk/run of some sort. I started walking some on my own but I wasn’t faithful although I was eating better. Then in September of 2016 I joined the Shadowchase.
“Running Club. They started a training program in October for the Modesto Marathon. In my wildest dreams I never could have imagined a half marathon in my future. But, on March 19, 2017, I truly amazed myself and my goal to do a half marathon after turning 70 in February became a reality.”
She said she kept that poster in her room so that she would see it every morning when she got out of bed to keep that goal fresh in her mind — and it worked, quietly recognizing that finishing the Modesto Marathon would also be a precursor for the Boston Marathon.
She concluded: “Training is key! I’m already signed up for Rina’s Run in May and I’m looking forward to that upcoming half marathon in Ripon.”
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.