HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s a familiar story. A working mother of two, looking to lose weight turns to running. What’s not so familiar is, now, more than a decade later, she is one of the country’s premier ultra runners.
Traci Falbo ran her first marathon in Huntsville in 2004, but she wasn’t technically a rookie runner.
“I ran in high school and college, but I wasn’t a very good runner,” she said.
In her mid-30s, she reintroduced herself to the sport, like so many before her, to drop some pounds.
“Honestly, I was 80 pounds heavier and was miserable and decided I needed to make a change, so decided to start running just to lose weight,” Falbo said.
Then she was hooked.
Now, this pediatric physical therapist from Indiana has run a marathon in every single state, winning nearly two dozen of them. Falbo then picked up the pace and started ultra running, which involved races longer than the traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles. She holds both U.S. and world records in the sport.
“There is no way I would have ever imagined that I would be successful in running,” she said. “I mean, I was just a regular person, a mom with kids and a job. I wasn’t born and bred into running.”
Despite a limited background and late start in the sport, Falbo now serves as a testament that anyone can go the distance.
“She is a regular person and everybody can relate to her,” said Rocket City Marathon Race Director Suzanne Taylor. “If you’re not a runner and you’ve thought about running or you’ve thought about running in a marathon, she’s proof that you can do it.”
And for those looking for some extra motivation, Falbo added some advice.
“Set a goal and prioritize that goal and make it a reality,” she said. “I think we’re never too old to stop trying to set new goals and trying new things.”