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Marathons make her feel 'like a real athlete'

Kaitlin and dadIt wasn't long ago that Kaitlyn Morrell couldn't run a mile. But the 27-year-old started running half marathons every few months and eventually took the plunge and committed to a full marathon and a running club –– on the same day.

When her friend pulled out of the run due to an injury, Morrell's dad said he'd join her, even though he's in his 60s and had never done a marathon before, but was a runner and had always wanted to.

Morrell said she and her dad trained separately. She trained at home in Tualatin; he trained in Seattle.

They ran together the first 15 miles of the marathon and then she ran ahead for the last piece. Her dad, even though he'd never been in a marathon before, came in first place in his age group.

She said at the end of the day, her dad texted her a message thanking her for inspiring him to try the marathon. "That was better for me than getting a medal, getting that text," she said. "It was the sweetest thing ever."

Kaitlyn in EugeneHer advice to others is to not be afraid to run with other people and to start small. She said that she used to worry about being slow and then realized she was "lapping everyone else (who is) on the couch." She says a support system is important because it helps makes her accountable and her gets her out of bed in the rain on a Saturday to go running.
Morrell runs about 30 miles a week. She says that running has boosted her self-esteem and made her feel like a "real athlete." She's also lost weight and feels stronger.
She's run six marathons so far and plans on doing about three a year going forward.

Morrell, who is the manager of support services (gift shop, environmental services and volunteer services) at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center, also finds time to sing opera and sometimes perform in local musical productions and is studying for her MBA at Marylhurst University.

With that busy schedule, she says she actually enjoys her commute from Tualatin to Gresham to have some quiet time to herself.

Running let's her leave work behind her and find balance. "After a tough meeting or a challenge, everything seems easier after running 15 miles," she said.

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