Carol Lavin

We can honestly say that the majority of us have run at some point in our lives. But for some people running has become a passion that fulfills their lives and gives them a new perspective on life.

Everyone has their own reasons for running and/or competing in races. Some say it’s to become healthier and others say it’s for the fun of it all.

For Carol Lavin of Vermillion, running has been something that has helped her feel good and also fulfilled her competitive spirit.

A runner in high school, Lavin says she didn’t run for about 10-15 years, then about five years ago she was challenged to compete in a race.

“One of my co-workers challenged four of us to run in the 5K at Riverboat Days,” Lavin said.

She had to work her way up to meeting the challenge though.

Lavin says she started out just walking and working her way up to running, and eventually running the longer distances.

After running that first 5K, “I was hooked,” says Lavin.

She adds that there were many motivators to keep going from then on. Running made her feel good and gave her more energy to keep exercising regularly.

It also doesn’t hurt that “I’m a competitor. So I thought if I ran a little bit more I could run just a little faster.”

“I like to run not only for being fit, but to reduce stress, be outside, and sometimes it’s just to be with friends,” adds Lavin.

Lavin went the next step a year later and competed in her first marathon in Duluth, MN.

Last fall, Lavin and some of her girl friends competed in a 1/2 marathon in Des Moines, Iowa. It was a great opportunity to “get away together, do a little shopping, and try a different course.”

Lavin competed in her first 1/2 triathlon the spring after the RBD 5K. Then two years ago, she did her first sprint triathlon in Minnesota. The sprint triathlon consists of 1/2 mile swim, 15 miles bike and 5K run.

Since then she has competed in about 5-6 triathlons in South Dakota.

Last fall, Lavin and her daughter, Madisen (11), competed as a team at a triathlon in Brookings. Her daughter did the swimming leg because “she can swim way faster,” while Lavin competed in the biking and running portions of the race. The mother-daughter team took first place in the woman’s team division.

“Now we have to go back to defend our title,” said Lavin.

Lavin says she tries to keep many of her races close to home because her kids are involved in several sports and activities.

“My goals this year are to do a few sprint triathlons, complete an Olympic triathlon, while still doing one or two 1/2 marathons.”

To meet her goals in the triathlons, Lavin knows she has to improve on her swimming, which she admits is a difficult sport for her.

Typically Lavin trains 3-4 days a week and runs 5-6 miles.

Many days, Lavin starts her day around 5:30 a.m. with either biking or swimming. Then it’s time to get the kids to school and head to work. In the evenings she may run or take in a Kisado class while the kids are at practice.

“I fit my workouts around their schedules.”

Lavin also has a great support system. Her brother-in-law is an Iron Man Triathlete and her sister also competes.

“If he can do that than I can run a marathon,” said Lavin about her brother-in-law’s Iron Man competitions. “He has been a real motivator.”

She also gets support from her husband and kids — Madisen and Hunter (age 9).

“My husband thinks I’m crazy sometimes.”

What does the future hold for Lavin?

“I may not always be this aggressive with my training, but I know I’ll run as many years as I can. It’s a lifestyle now and we all want to remain as young as we can.”

DeAnn McClure and her kids (center) wait for the start of a race. Photo courtesy of DeAnn McClure.

For DeAnn McClure running was a way to keep busy while she was home with her children.

“It was just one of those things. The kids were all little and I needed to do something — didn’t have time to go to a gym. So I’d put them in the stroller because it was free and right outside my door. And I just started doing it that way,” said McClure, who started running at the age of 30.

In 2003, McClure says she decided she was going to try the Riverboat Days 5K race.

“I did that, I finished and I was just hooked on it,” says McClure. “And it just snowballed from there. So now it’s my passion.

What I love to do.”

Running has turned out to be a fun time to spend with her kids.

She says it started with her eldest son, Brody. He had expressed interest in going to the races.

“I would come home and tell them my stories. And I’d bring home medals and t-shirts.”

So eventually Brody started running with her.

In October 2010, McClure competed in the Chicago Marathon, which was a goal of hers.

“I came home from that and the girls were like ‘we want to run with you. We want to start running.’”

That next January-February, McClure said she started taking her daughters, Emerson and Madison, out on runs with her.

“I was so afraid they weren’t going to like it.”

They did their first race in April 2011. McClure says she was going to sign them up for just the mile but soon realized her girls had a natural talent for running, so they competed in the 5K.

“All of us did it, but they don’t like me to run with them during the race. So I did my own race. I came in and waited for them.

They ran the entire thing. I will never forget how proud I was of them.”

McClure says that afterwards adults were coming up and shaking their hands and telling the girls how great they did. They each got a medal.

The girls ended up doing six races with her last year.

“They are very good. They are very talented. They get better and better every time we go.”

McClure says she is so happy about her girls running because what got her hooked was the positive environment that one experiences at these races.

“Everybody is there to be happy and healthy and doing good things for yourself. The whole environment is addicting, and it’s just a positive thing.

“I love it. It just makes you grow as a person in so many more ways than what you would think running does for you. It puts things in perspective.”

A lot of times, McClure says when she goes running it gives her the time to put her life into perspective… to put her day into perspective.

“I can choose where I want to go. I can choose how fast I want to go. What sights I want to see. I run at night because you see different things than you would in the daytime. You can just really soak in your environment.”

McClure runs every day — sometimes in the morning or after work, or at night when she can take the dog or the kids along.

“It makes me feel better. In the morning, it gets you going and feeling good. At night it can be that stress reliever,” she adds.

Every time she is in a race McClure challenges herself to do better.

“It’s just goals I’ve set for myself.”

She always wanted to do a full marathon. “That was just something I never thought I could do. I learned so much about myself by accomplishing that goal.”

McClure says that she has become a changed person since achieving her goal.

Having the girls running with her give them quality time together, she says.

“Sometimes we talk. We’ll chat the whole time we’re running. How often do you get to do that with no disruptions, no distractions.”

Brody still runs with her occasionally and enters a few races, but he is busy with other sports, she adds.

McClure says they also do a lot of running for causes.

“We’re running for people that can’t run. We run for people that would love to get up and do what we do and can’t. So we know we are running for a lot of great causes and that makes us run harder, run faster, be determined.”

McClure would love to do another marathon someday, but says she loves doing the half marathons.

“It has become such a part of me. Finally in my life I feel like I have found something that I love to do and that I can help other people do.”

Because of her running McClure says she has become more aware of what she eats, especially just before a race. And the kids have caught onto it.

“It’s just done something for me. I never had the confidence that I could do it. And when you can do, when you cross the finish line… that feeling never gets old. It’s just amazing.”

She has no idea how many races she has done over the years, but says that she still gets that feeling to this day.

“I almost cry when I see them (the girls) cross that finish line. I am just so proud of them.”

Most recently, McClure says she and the girls went to a race in Beresford in February. Out of a 135 runners the girls placed 10th and 11th.

McClure plans on running until she can’t do it anymore.

“This is my passion. People have asked me questions about it if they want to get started running. I could talk and encourage people all the time because it’s such a positive thing. It has done so many good things for me as a person — emotionally, physically.”