LAURA SKLADZINSKI smashed even her own expectations and broke a world record as the youngest woman to run a marathon in each of the 50 states, despite an unathletic childhood as a self-proclaimed “musical theater nerd.” For two years, Laura traveled the country on weekends (while holding down a full-time job during the week) to run marathons from Orlando, Florida to Anchorage, Alaska. To date, she has run 64 marathons — and shows no signs of stopping.
It all started on summer school break in 2006 when Laura challenged herself to run one mile without stopping. Lacking fancy equipment or running gear, she drove her car around the neighborhood to measure out a one-mile loop, and set out to run all the way without walking. By the end of the summer, she had done that and also completed her first 5K race. She started wondering… if she could push her limits to complete a 5K, what else could she do? Laura gradually increased her distance mile by mile, working up to a 22 mile weekend run, when she realized that maybe a marathon wasn’t that far out of reach. She signed up for the Vermont City Marathon and, motivated by her friends and family’s signs encouraging her to “run to the ice cream” that awaited at the finish line, Laura finished her first marathon in May 2008. Though most people would have called the goal complete, Laura loved the powerful feeling of pushing her limits to cross the finish line and “conquering the impossible.” She began competing in marathons around the country, and discovered that running 26.2 miles was a great way to see a new place. Always looking for new experiences, she ran up and down mountains, through a desert in the heat of summer, on tropical islands, across an international border, over the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Kentucky Derby’s famed Churchill Downs, and down Bourbon Street (even stopping for a drink along the way!).
After breaking the world record, Laura continued to run and encourage other runners as a coach and pace team leader. Naturally outgoing, she finds it hard to resist chatting with others while out for a run, and loves encouraging people to test their limits and see what they are capable of achieving. She believes that anyone who wants to can run a marathon (or several) if they commit to training and pushing themselves. This belief is captured in one of her favorite quotes: “If it’s important, you will find a way; if it’s not, you will find an excuse.”
ACCOMPLISHMENTS & CREDENTIALS:
- 64 marathons/ultramarathons completed in fifty U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and four countries
- Fastest marathon time: 3:49
- Pace team leader for 13 marathons
- Coached/paced tennis pro Justin Gimelstob to a 4:09 finish in the 2010 NYC Marathon
- Host free fitness events at the Athleta Upper West Side store
- Run one marathon a month and set a new personal best time
- Run 600 miles over the course of the year
- Cross the finish line of the More+Fitness Half Marathon side by side with her mother (her mother’s first half marathon)
- Continue to coach beginning runners and encourage them to test their own limits
WEBSITE: 50by25.com »