Profile on Julie Sibley
How many years have you been running?
Technically I started running in 1993 when I was a junior in high school. I joined the cross country team because I wanted to try to be “sporty” and they didn’t cut anyone from the team. I couldn’t run a mile without stopping that first summer. I usually tell people I started running in 1998 – that was the year I ran my first Chicago Marathon.
Who inspired you?
I really didn’t have any outside inspiration. I had never played sports growing up and I thought it might be nice to be a part of a team and make new friends.
Why did you join the Lake Run Club?
I graduated ISU in 1999 and instead of returning home to the suburbs like all of my college friends I decided to stay in BloNo. I joined the LRC as a way to meet people with similar interests. I think Kirby Cheek is primarily responsible for making sure I attended as many events as possible.
Tell me about your first race.
I definitely don’t remember my first cross country race or any of my early 5Ks, but my first Chicago Marathon will always be special. I raised money for and trained with Team in Training – I ran with the group downtown on the Lakefront and also in Normal. On race day both of my parents were there and I finished in 5:35.
What makes your favorite race your favorite?
This might get a little repetitive, but the Chicago Marathon is my favorite race. I love every step: the neighborhoods, the crowds, all of the familiar faces. I have run it 19 times from 1998 to 2017. I would have a 20 year streak but in 2015 I missed it so I could go spectate a local legend (a.k.a. Dennis Killian) as he completed the Ironman World Champship in Kona.
What race really sticks in your mind (for one reason or another?)
Marathon to Marathon in Iowa this past June will probably be one of my top memories for a very long time. I finished my quest to run a marathon in all 50 states and over 20 friends from BloNo made the trip with me. I also turned 40 the same weekend – so it was a great a party all weekend long.
*Just a quick author’s note because Julie’s being way too modest here…but yes, you are reading that correctly; she did just say she’s run at least one marathon in each U.S. State (although I’m pretty sure she’s run way more than that). Julie is a member of the exclusive 50 States Marathon Club.
Do you have a favorite route that you run?
We have a route from Fleet Feet Sports Bloomington that we call the “W.” I don’t have a great sense of direction and I love that after four years I could probably run it with my eyes closed.
If you could run any race in the world, which would you pick, and why?
A few years ago I recently completed my bucket list race: The Madrid Marathon. I’m a part-time Spanish teacher and I spent four summers studying
in Madrid while I earned my Master’s degree. I had always wanted to go back to run the marathon. I’m currently booked to run the 2019 Antarctica Marathon.
Which race do you think is the most fun to volunteer at and why?
I really enjoyed volunteering at the We Care Half Marathon finish line. I loved putting medals around the necks of runners as they finished – especially our training program participants that had just completed their first half marathon. I love sweaty hugs and seeing their smiles.
What are you training for right now?
Depending on when this is published, I’m running the JFK 50 Miler on November 18th and doing the Dopey Challenge in January. If you can’t tell I tend to gravitate towards the longer distances – I really enjoy long, slow, distance and the feeling you get when you get to the finish line after challenging your body in an incredible way.
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