Beth Gillespie

Girls on the Run advocate and passionate runner

 

AGE 39
LOCATION Charleston, Illinois
OCCUPATION Director of Civic Engagement
MARATHONS RUN 18
2017 BOSTON MARATHON First

 

Meet Beth

Beth is the Director of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism at Eastern Illinois University. Her job is to go out into the community to find meaningful volunteer opportunities and then connect them back to students looking to make a difference. So it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about meaningful endeavors.

Prior to this role, she spent 6 years working for a council in Girls on the Run and continues to support the organization to this day. She believes the organization is so powerful because “it creates a safe space where everyone is celebrated as they are for who they are.” At the same time, girls are positively supported to achieve a milestone like running their first 5k. Reaching a finish line you never thought possible on your own volition is a huge achievement. Beth’s own running started very similarly.

In school, Beth would not have called herself a runner, by any means. She failed running the mile in high school three times. After the third attempt, her teacher told her “What’s more important than meeting the goal is that you tried.” It would be another 10 years before she actually ran a mile. At that point, she had recently committed herself to a healthy lifestyle and it was paying off. She had lost 70 pounds but none of that was through running. As fate would have it, on a business trip, she found herself at a hotel gym that had nothing but treadmills. She ran a mile that day and felt like she had conquered the world.

Since then, she’s run 18 marathons and 3 ultras. This will be her very first trip to Boston and though she look at it like a goal, she’s thrilled simply that she has the opportunity to try.

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