Berrien Springs woman runs 100 marathons

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - Running a marathon is enough to make most people look the other way. Theresa Pipher, 68, of Berrien Springs recently completed her 100th 26.2-mile race at the Publix Florida Marathon.

“I did not realize doing 100 was so amazing until when I finished. Everybody congratulated me, and it was - that was amazing,” reflected Pipher.

Her husband, Tom, was banking on her to finish the February race in Melbourne, Fla.

“We had a party planned for her to celebrate her 100th race, and it was a surprise party. So I was just hoping she would finish so it was gonna be pretty embarrassing if she didn’t, but she didn’t have any problem,” joked Tom. “You have to think how tough it is to do a marathon. I mean, this is not just a physical thing. It’s a mental thing. And for her to do 100 of them, this is very amazing.”

The idea to do 100 marathons came when Theresa accomplished her goal of running a marathon in all 50 states back in June 2010.

But her running journey began as an after-school hobby in high school.

“Back in high school, I did not do any sports. I was shy. And there was not much for women. So a friend came over and said, ‘Let’s run,’ and so I liked it. It made me feel like, it gave me energy and felt like I was doing something useful,” Pipher described.

Years later, she ran her first marathon in Chicago.

“I said, ‘I will never gonna do that again,’” she recalled.

The excitement of trying again won her over. Plus her 40 years in the nursing field and family health history nurtured a desire to take care of herself.

“I saw so many sick people. I worked in ICU. So I knew what could happen to me. And my father died young, and my mom, she was 88. But she still got dementia. My father had Alzheimer’s,” she said.

Whether it’s at the gym or outside, Theresa runs every day and reports never having suffered an injury.

“I love picking out new places to run and seeing nature and also meeting a lot of new people, and I like [crossing] the finishing line,” said Pipher.

Even if someone isn’t into running, Theresa encourages those who want to stay healthy to do some form of exercise.

“Just don’t give up,” she said.

Since reaching her goal of running 100 marathons, Pipher has set a new goal of running every state twice. She has 21 remaining on her list and hopes to reach this accomplishment in her eighties.

Pipher’s marathoning has also taken her overseas to Berlin, Athens, and Stockholm, where she finished the races in Olympic stadiums in those cities.

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