This week's runner is Maren Elliott. She's Jessica's cousin, originally from Portland and is one of the fastest women we know. She works at Swift, a digital and PR agency in Portland. When she's not working, you can find her running in Forest Park or biking around on her cruiser bike hitting up fitness classes (we've run into her weekly without planning it!) We love being her new neighbor.
When did you start running?
Growing up the only running I did was around a soccer field. I loved sprinting after the ball or chasing down opponents but had no interest in going for a run outside of soccer. My freshman year in high school I was persuaded to join the track team as a way to stay in shape during the off season for soccer. I ended up being pretty good at it and got hooked.
What inspires you to run?
While my entry into the sport was a fluke, my dad inspired me to keep with it and is the reason I became a runner. While I was in high school we had a ritual of running together every weekend and that continued on through college whenever I was home. As I got faster and he got slower, we'd chose routes that started uphill and ended downhill so he could work "his advantage" on the downhill stretch, which meant leaning forward and letting momentum carry his weight downhill. There are still routes around Portland that I run a particular way because it is how my dad and I always did it.
What is your favorite running route? Why?
Forest Park anytime of the year, any day. During the summer it is always cooler and more refreshing than the pavement and in the winter the tree canopy provides protection (some) from the rain). The minute you step foot on the trails you feel far away from the city.
Favorite post-run meal?
Toast + two scrambled eggs + avocado + sea salt... and coffee.
Best piece of running advice?
My first coach told me to keep my arms relaxed but strong. I still think of this when I'm dead tired in the final miles of a race and use my arms to pull my legs through.
Who would you love to run with and why?
I'd love to go for a run with Joan Benoit Samuelson. She pioneered the way for female runners and is still kicking ass.
Are you running for fun or sport?
Both! I love competing at races but keep it fun running with close girlfriends.
Favorite way to sweat other than run?
Yoga sculpt class at Core Power and road biking.