With CEO Margaret Sabin on vacation this week, we would like to share this inspirational story of one of our Penrose-St. Francis employees who completed the Boston Marathon earlier this year.
By Whitney Bowyer
Do you need some inspiration for running or getting back into shape? We all know how hard it is to get in shape and maintain a workout routine. With the Colorado Springs Half Marathon presented by Penrose-St. Francis coming up, we thought it would be a good time to share a story on one of our associates, Penrose-St. Francis runner Noreen Orourke.
Noreen is part of our ambulatory care department at St. Francis Medical Center and is a seasoned runner. She has completed 20+ half marathons and eight full marathons. Noreen’s first full marathon was the 1999 Governor’s Cup in Montana with her younger brother. Her marathon career now includes two Rock ‘N Roll marathons in San Diego and Denver, the Discovery Trail marathon twice, as well as the famous Boston Marathon… three times!
There was no real cause behind Noreen’s running career besides the fact that it was fun and a time for her and her college roommate to get out and about. After she married, she and her husband would enter random races just to see how they would compete- and the rest is history. She now runs as a means to manage her weight as well as a way to relieve her stress. Running gives her time to clear her thoughts, wrestle with the issues of daily life and get out to enjoy this beautiful state we live in.
As all runners know, there is a distinct training program to help you reach your own personal goals. For Noreen, her training week includes a long distance run with running buddies, a couple of easy runs, and speed runs. In Noreen’s younger years, she would run every day, but as she gets older and wiser, she realizes that cross training is a large part of injury prevention. Listening to your own body is a key part in running and training. Noreen explains that you must listen to your own aches and pains to insure you don’t create a long-term injury.
Noreen was registered to run Boston in 2013, the year of the bombing, but fell on some ice during a training run in Colorado and fractured her sacrum eight-weeks prior. Not knowing it was fractured, she ran on it for two more weeks. Ultimately, her recovery took much longer than she had planned or hoped so she withdrew from Boston that year.
She said, “That was God’s way of telling me I wasn’t supposed to be there!” She was able to resume her training again in June and continued to strive toward Boston 2014.
If you aren’t familiar with running Boston, you must qualify for the race. For Noreen, she had to run a full marathon (26.2 miles) under four hours. She accomplished this at the Denver Rock N Roll in 2012 with a time of 3:55:46! She ran Boston 2014 with a finishing time of 4:00:17, 17 seconds over her qualifying time.
“It is a bitter pill to swallow,” Noreen said, thinking back on the race. It was an amazing experience and she may try to qualify in another race for Boston 2015. She has the heart of a true runner.
When asked what the atmosphere of Boston was like this year after the bombing, she painted a picture.
“This year Boston was amazing!” said Noreen. “It was a very emotional day for everyone involved. Like I mentioned earlier, by the grace of God, I wasn’t there last year because, to be honest, I probably would have been right around the finish line when the bombs went off. The whole atmosphere this year was so welcoming and everyone; locals, runners, and supporters were just charged with energy. And the police and military presence was everywhere providing an amazing sense of safety. I am so thankful to have been part of the whole experience. Obviously, the organizers have the logistics down to a science and they made sure only those who were running were allowed in certain areas but it didn’t take away from any of it. The community is extremely supportive and all were out in full force cheering for you, offering food, drink, tissues, kisses from the college students, whatever you might need. That was similar to what I experienced when I ran Boston in 2009 and 2010. It is a very big deal to the town and surrounding communities. They fully support each and every runner by making you feel like they are out there just for you.”
Thanks Noreen for being an inspiration to all of us. We are proud of all that you’ve accomplished. Good luck with future races and keep on running!