I found this story to be hugely inspiring for me. I know so many women like Nita who do not find their passion. They struggle with their self esteem, their weight and themselves because they find it hard to establish a goal and a purpose that allow them to really enjoy their lives. I think sport is such a great arena for everyone to start experiencing passion. No matter where you were athletically in your younger years it is never too late to decide you are an athlete. Once you have made that decision, you will find this athlete’s club is very inclusive and super rewarding, no matter what your actual times are!
Her story reminded me of how important passion is. In the elite wave, only a small percentage seperates the top women athletes yet many of them will never, ever have a chance of winning. That is because they don’t have the passion and the confidence to push themselves beyond their established limits. Nita got started in running and then smashed all barriers she had for herself to ensure that she could pursue her passion without limits. Passion also buoys you in the discouraging times. No matter what, eventually we will all have a bad race. The only thing preventing us from ever having a great race is not showing up to the start. I am stoked that I get to go and start again so soon!
I hope you enjoy the story. I think it has helped to motivate me to find a that level in Maui, free of limitations, which will push me in the direction of the greatest race I am capable of having. This is how you need to think if you want to achieve your potential as well. For Nita it is not about being the fastest. It is about being the best that she can be and doing everything she can with what she’s got. I only want to display everything I have in me on Maui. Make sure you do the same!!
Woman picks up marathon running at nearly 40, runs on 7 continents
By Paul Meincke
October 2, 2007 – Among the thousands of people running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday will be Nita Kay Lemay. She won’t finish first and is unlikely to finish last, but what this suburban woman has already accomplished in the world of marathon running is nothing short of astonishing.
She doesn’t run fast. She runs long. When Nita Kay LeMay approached 40, she decided to run a marathon. She ran the Chicago. She finished, and she cried.
"It was empowerment more than anything," she said. "It was, ‘You are invincible. You can do anything. You can tackle anything.’
"About a month later, I thought once is not enough, and so I signed up for another one and another one and in one year I actually ran 23 marathons," LeMay said.
In the 15 years since her first, LeMay has run marathons in every state in the union and all 13 Canadian provinces and territories.
How do you top that? Continents. Four years ago, LeMay ran marathons on all seven continents in seven months, including the toughest to get into, Antarctica, where the runners followed a course atop a glacier and along a coastline so deeply muddy that duct tape was the only way to keep their shoes on their feet.
Running the U.S., Canada and all the continents is a marathon achievement LeMay shares with only one other woman. She says it gives her a feeling of pride, and even a little arrogance.
"That’s what my husband says," she said. "The house has too many trophies and there are too many medals laying around, and I talk about it too much."
There are many plaques, and a lot of heavy metal that she most probably would not have were it not for something else that drives her. LeMay is legally blind.
"When I look straight at you, I can’t see you at all because I have no straight vision," LeMay explained.
Macular degeneration, a hereditary disease, over the years has eroded LeMay’s eyesight. She relies on some peripheral vision, but that too is declining.
"I don’t consider it a handicap. It’s just another one of those challenges that life gives you," she said.
The people who watch LeMay run past, and those who see her at the restaurant where she works, would never know she can’t see them. She compensates.
On an unfamiliar course, she high steps, and she takes her time. She runs with the hope that she is an inspiration to others with challenges – that they too might find the feeling that made her cry 15 years ago.
"When my vision is completely gone, I won’t look back with regrets, I’ll look back with memories of those adventures," she said. "I’ve been there, I’ve done that, got the T-shirt-type thought."
For LeMay, the toughest part of the marathon is getting there. She’s run 120 of them in 15 years and will be the first to tell you that she’s very blessed to be able to do what she has done.
And, of course, she’s not finished. If time, money and her body permit, she will head down under to run the six states and two territories of Australia.
Then she says, "I’ll be number one."