Categorized | Primary, RaceTwitch Pro-Team

Meet RaceTwitch Pro-Team member Cheryl Zwarkowski

Posted on 29 September 2010

The world of endurance began for me in January of 2005 when I did my first 50K; I was 46 years old at the time….

To explain—I started training in 2000; I was 42 years old.  I began with a Personal Trainer at the gym and began walking and then began very short runs around my neighborhood with my ENTIRE goal being to be able eventually to run a 5K!  I did so within a couple of months, then a 10K the following month, and a half-marathon the next month.  My first marathon was the LA Marathon in March of 2001, almost a year after I first began running.  The feeling of elation and empowerment I had when I crossed the finish line was beyond words—I was “hooked” and knew, just KNEW, I could do anything!  And I also wondered at that point what my limit(s) were.

I went on marathoning for a while.  In 2002, I set my goal to do a marathon a month, and ended up doing 13—perhaps ambitions of going farther and doing more were already set in motion.  In April of 2003, I did my first Boston Marathon.  I followed that up two months later by entering a bodybuilding competition.  I competed in several contests over the next two years and at the time held several titles; however, the lure of running kept calling.

I returned to running in late 2004 with the idea of doing ultras; but, to back up a little bit, in 2001 a friend gave me the book titled To the Edge:  A Man, Death Valley and the Mystery of Endurance, by Kirk Johnson.  It was this book that turned me onto the idea of the Badwater 135 and ultrarunning; until I read this book, I literally had no idea that this world EVEN EXISTED.  In 2001 I told friends, family, anyone who would listen that I would “someday“ do this Badwater race and, mind you, that was BEFORE I had ever even run any ultra J.  They all basically said the same thing—that “doing Badwater would be NUTS!”

So, to date I have paced and crewed for two Badwater races and run—and buckled!—two:  2008 and 2009.  I have additionally completed eight 100-mile runs.  In 2007, my time of 23:10:07 at the Heartland 100 in Kansas was the 55th fastest 100-mile time for ALL women in North America.  In 2008, my time of 22:35:39 at the Umstead 100 in North Carolina was the 41st fastest 100-mile time for ALL women in North America.  I have also done numerous 50-milers and 50Ks.

I continue to extend and challenge myself with my ultrarunning goals.  In 2011 I am hoping to be invited and do the THREE 135s:  Arrowhead, Brazil, and Badwater.  I also have tons of other ultras on my radar—Hardrock, Spartathon, and Comrades, to name a few.

Additionally, I bike some, swim some, and am still looking for the limit(s)!  NOW I even aspire to do an ultra-tri!!!

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