Here, we catch up with Paola Morrell, from Minnesota, U.S.A.
I’m a wife and a mom of two wonderful children; an Ecuadorian native living for over 25 years in Minnesota that loves to run and had to learn how to run in the perfect Minnesota summer weather, as well as the frigid cold winters.
What motivates you?
Staying healthy physically and mentally is what motivates me to keep running, pretty much on a daily basis. Being a runner is what has saved me from having to take cholesterol medicine. Ever since I changed my sedentary lifestyle and eating habits my stubborn cholesterol levels have been under control.
What pushes you to get outdoors in any type of weather?
After I discovered my love for running I knew I had to learn how to run in any type of weather…especially the cold temperatures here in Minnesota. The weather here is basically nine months of winter and three months of spring, summer and fall, so you could say I had no other choice. And in all honesty, running in the winter has become one of my favorite seasons.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as a runner?
My greatest achievement as a runner was the completion of my first marathon in 2013. Prior to this, I had run a number of half marathons, each of which I felt were big accomplishments at the time. I recall thinking to myself each time I finished a half that there was no way I could ever run 13.1 miles twice. Just the same, somehow I convinced myself of setting a goal to do what I thought for me would have been impossible. Today I can proudly say that I’ve successfully completed 11 marathons since that first challenging thought.
Which races stand out as some favorites, and which have challenged you the most?
There are three races that stand out for me. My two favorite races so far are Sioux Falls, which is where I achieved my first sub-four and Chicago, for the large number of people that come from all over the world to run it.
Then there’s The Twin Cities, which can be one of the most beautiful, but at the same time one of the most challenging because of the unpredictable Minnesota weather in October. I still remember running it under rainy, windy conditions through the whole race. Just the same, I have run Twin Cities three times and one thing to note is that the fans and spectators along this route are like no other at any race…cheering and encouraging the entire 26.2 miles.
"[Running] has changed my life and I’m certain it can change yours as well."
How has COVID19 changed your outdoor lifestyle?
Thankfully because I live in a rural area the pandemic hasn’t changed my outdoor lifestyle.
Are you training for any upcoming races?
I’m training as if I were planning an upcoming race but under the circumstances of the current pandemic we’re living, not too many traditional races are going on or scheduled for the near future and I’m not too sure about virtual races yet.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start running?
My advice is that if the thought of wanting to start running intrigues you, I truly would encourage you to give it a try. It has changed my life and I’m certain it can change yours as well. Start slow and stick with it. For some it takes time but if you stay with it long enough, running can become addictive and this addiction is a huge positive and by far more rewarding than anything I can think of.
More from this series:
All-Season Runner Q&A: Brandon Miller (U.S.A)
All-Season Runner: Elìa Diehl Ruberto (Switzerland)
All-Season Runner Q&A: Clare Shea (U.S.A)
All-Season Runner Q&A: Dr. Marilyn Simmons Bowe (U.S.A)
All-Season Runner Q&A: Jesse Taylor (U.S.A)
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