Stronger Together

one year ago

By: Sarah Gooding

Running is a lifestyle all its own, filled with goal-setting, training at odd hours, sweaty laundry and stories of aches and pains along the course.

Ultra-runner Scott Vorhees said he couldn’t imagine sharing life with a non-runner, and is grateful to have Julie VanLue on the journey with him.

The two share very early morning wake-ups, vacations planned around distance runs and a dry erase board with their personal record times in each distance, but as runners they couldn’t be more different.

“I’m one of those people who, if they like to hear someone babble while they run, I’m your guy,” Vorhees said. “I say ‘Hi’ to everyone. Every marathon I run - I come away with another friend.”

Meanwhile, VanLue enjoys her friends but becomes very focused on the course when running.

Their differences were accentuated during their first marathon together, in which Vorhees paced VanLue.

“In my very first marathon, I was a little too slow for him - he got distracted,” she said. “He would slowly make his way ahead of me. Once he would get 100 yards or so ahead of me, he would turn around and run back to me. This just led to confusion for the runners in between us. They would all make sure he knew he was running the wrong direction on the course, but he just saw this as an opening for more conversation with strangers.”

Despite their differences, the two make a great running team.

VanLue said the encouragement and pacing Vorhees has offered helped her grow stronger in her division, earning a qualifying time for the 2016 Boston Marathon with her third marathon run.

“In her division, Julie is a much faster runner than I am,” Vorhees said. “She inspires by staying strong and steadfast.”

Meanwhile, VanLue accompanied Vorhees as he trained for his first 100-miler.

“When he did his training for his first 100, I would get up in the mornings and I would ride my bike while he ran,” she said.

Fittingly, Vorhees got his training plan for his 100-mile run from a friend he met along the course when he was running a 50-mile ultra.

“He gave me a training plan that I successfully used to complete my 100,” Vorhees said. “Talking and laughing and encouraging people helps me keep moving and makes the race better for all. I can’t tell you how many people have thanked me for simply distracting them from the pain or sharing their struggles as we run.”

These newfound friends have helped both VanLue and Vorhees with accomplishments they once would have considered unthinkable. The two each began their running journey simply trying to survive a short distance, but together continue to grow stronger and are racking up impressive stats.

Since beginning running in 2012, VanLue has completed two halfmarathons, six full marathons and one 50-mile race. Vorhees ran his first marathon on 10-10-10, and since has completed 15 half marathons, 16 full marathons, two 50-mile races and one 100-miler. Vorhees also participates in competitive powerlifting and holds a number of national titles.

Now, the two have the United States map on the wall at home, and are pinning their runs on their way to completing marathon or ultra distances in each of the 50 states. They also continue to push for new personal records at each distance.

“The key is no excuses!” Vorhees said. “We each continue to set personal records and get stronger and look for new adventures. I never expect to win a marathon or an ultra, but I do expect to finish strong and make friends along the way. When you see us on the road or at a race, Julie will be the good-looking one; I’ll be the one waving and yelling ‘Good Morning!’”

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