I heard you just participated in a half-marathon in Bamberg, Germany.

Yes. I placed second in my age group and was the 11th overall female.

Wow. How often do you run?

Four or five times a week, but I also do a lot of cycling. Triathlon’s my real sport. … I used to be a very serious triathlete. I learned to swim at 39, and a year later I placed on the podium at the Ironman in Hawaii.

You said you started getting serious at 39. How did you get into it?

My husband — he was my boyfriend at the time — was a runner.

So is your husband as into all this as you are?

No. I took it to another level. I never started out small. My first run was the Austin (Texas) Marathon. I just did the Zurich Marathon in April. I ran it in 3 hours, 13 minutes. I’ve landed second place (in my age group) in every international marathon I’ve done.

Never first?

Traditionally, I’ve always been the bridesmaid.

Still, second place is pretty fantastic. Where else have you run international races?

I’ve done marathons in Rome, Paris, Prague, Palermo, Dublin, San Francisco.

Exactly how many marathons have you run in?

Forty-seven. One of my small-term goals is to reach 50 marathons before I’m done being 50. I just turned 50 in March.

Have you ever done any of those totally crazy races where people run for like 100 miles?

The longest race I’ve run was 50 miles up Mount Rainier, Washington.

How long have you been a nurse?

For 25 years.

Do you take your love of fitness with you to your day job?

Absolutely. I think that health is the key for living … a big part of what I do is focus on health and wellness.

Do any of the students really latch on to what you tell them or use you as an example?

I have a core group of kids, especially girls, who are really interested in fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I think that the idea of doing what you do, like running a marathon, is daunting to a lot of people. How did you motivate yourself in the beginning?

I stuck with it. If you’ve got a plan, you follow that plan. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.

Anything else you’d like to say about what you do?

Well, I wish we could promote more … I wish there was a way we could have a running club or cycling club on base. In Sicily I trained 39 people to do the Rome Marathon and they all did it … I sure wish I could find fellow athletes (here).

Kathy Thomas

Of note: Triathlete and marathon runner (Day job: Bamberg High School Nurse)

Europe readers: Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Send the person’s name and contact information to:

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