Above: Susan Loken (#33), now at age 47, aimed to be elite after her 3rd child was born back when she was 35

Seeing that this is the category below the world-class elites, I really do not think it is a far-fetched goal. Many of these great runners continue to do what I want to do: They maintain a balanced life with their training and their day jobs. And, they are exceptional athletes. I do believe I can reach this level; I am motivated by my favorite runner, Susan Loken, who was about my age when she made the jump to elite-runner status. I want to teach great courses, write awesome papers, attend cool conferences, and travel the country (and world) to compete against other highly competitive runners. I am very disciplined with my time, which I have to be seeing the amount of time I spend preparing for classes and training. Here is Loken’s story:

Susan Loken is, among other things, a mother, elite runner, mentor, coach and an inspiration to many. Loken went from a stay-at-home mom, to a casual runner, to a first time marathoner, and finally to an elite runner in just four years.  After the birth of her third child, at 35 Susan decided to give running a try and set her goal on completing her first marathon. In the next four years, Loken dropped her marathon time from sub four hours in the 1998 San Francisco Marathon to a sub three in the 2002 Grandma’s Marathon. In 2005, she won the USA Masters Marathon Championship and went on to win again in 2006 and 2007 for three consecutive National Titles.

At age 47, Loken returned to the USA Masters Marathon Championship in 2010 where she won her fourth National Master’s Championship. She also captured three consecutive wins at the New York City MORE Magazine Marathon. Loken‘s elite times qualified her for the 2004, 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

The dedicated coaching and mentoring Loken has received over the years from Brett Schumacher has been vital to her success as an athlete and coach.

Her new found passion inspired her to instill a healthy lifestyle in others, and she is now the program director and lead coach for Chances for Children – Arizona. Using the lessons learned through elite competition, Loken coaches others to success by leading fundraising running teams and developing programs for Arizona’s less-fortunate youth.

Chances for Children has given Loken a chance to use her passion for a purpose. Loken has three sons, Michael, Taylor and Chris. Many are inspired by her story, but even more are inspired by her passionate, soulful lifestyle.