Running Memories – Doreen Ratigan 

Doreen Ratigan, Orlando 

What is your favorite race? 
My favorite race would have to be my first full marathon, Chicago 2000. The training anticipation of every new mile PR and the thrill of running through the streets of such a big city and crossing that first finish line brought me to tears of JOY!

What was your first race? 
My first 5K was at Dodger Summer Training Stadium in Vero Beach, Florida in 1987. 

How many years have you been running?
I have been hooked on running for 30 years!!

What is your fondest Track Shack memory? 
On Labor Day weekend, 2012, I was standing knee deep in water at the Jetty on New Smyrna Beach when I was attacked by a shark! I defended myself with a bogie board and escaped to the shore! After receiving 30 stiches to my ankle and calf, I returned home to Orlando. Fortunately, I had just completed my last long run before the Air Force Marathon (AFM) in Dayton, Ohio the next month. I asked my doctor if I could still run the race once my stiches were removed. He knew the runners’ persistence, and said as long as I wore compression socks, I could run! Dean Karnazes (50 Marathons in 50 Days) was the guest speaker at the AFM Running Expo that year. From the audience, I asked his advice for running with an injury and told him my story. He called me down to the stage and told me and the listening audience, that I was his hero! It was wonderful to have his personal “runner’s blessing”! The next day’s race was amazing and one of my PERSONAL BEST experiences. At the Marathon Fest “end-of-the-season” banquet, I was given the “Best Running with an Injury Award”, a trophy decorated with 3 circling sharks! Shown in picture above!

Why did you start running? When? 
I began running in 1987 to win favor with a new boyfriend, and just to keep up with him!

How has running changed your life? Did you set out to accomplish a particular goal? 
Joining MarathonFest in 1997 was life transforming for me. I needed exercise and discipline after my daughter was born in 1996. Not only did I lose my own “baby fat,” I made lifelong friends and developed a new commitment to health and well-being.

What is the best advice you can give someone just starting out running?
If you can’t run and talk at the same time, you are running too damn fast! Also, run for fun! Don’t worry about winning.

What is your funniest runner quirk?
I once ran with 10 peacock feathers I found in the street on an early morning run through Winter Park. 

What is something you think only a runner would understand?
You can get through any stress, challenge, or suffering when you have your running family beside you.

What did you learn about yourself as a result of running? 
I can accomplish anything I set my mind, body, and soul to complete. I just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.

Do you prefer running alone or with friends?
Running alone and running with friends serve different purposes. Alone, I can self-reflect and center my energy (mindful movement meditation). With friends, I find endurance and companionship as the miles and hours role by. Stories told on the road, STAY on the road!

About how many pairs of running shoes have you purchased? 
Like a good bartender or hairdresser, only Betsy knows for sure! She took one look at my instep, foot width, running gate, and named my shoe: I will forever run in a Saucony Hurricane!

What are your favorite running conditions?  
Anywhere with my running buddies!

What do you do when you’re not running?
Professionally, I am a high school counselor. I am married to Kevin, an architect, inline skater and a professional sailor. I am his first mate ?. I also ride a bike, swim, and dream of triathlons. My daughter, Anise, and I joined the Orlando Gay Choru 5 years ago. We sing, dance and share the message of equality, human rights, and justice for everyone! 

Please share your Track Shack memory below or email natalie@trackshack.com to be featured!

Use Facebook to Leave a Comment - We'd love to hear from you.