Manayunk resident and competitive runner Elizabeth Seeley will participate in her third Philadelphia Marathon this Sunday.
Seeley says she may have a strong advantage as a resident of Manayunk, thanks to the ample hills in the area.
“It’s like a built-in training course all around my neighborhood,” said Seeley, “this area is a great place to run.”
Seeley has participated in ten marathons, and in 2008 she qualified to run the Olympic Marathon. She began training for the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon in August, and generally gives herself three months to prepare. She says she starts out slow and then builds her mileage over the weeks.
“With this race I’m trying to get back into it,” said Seeley, “I’m excited – I haven’t ran a marathon since having kids.”
Her children are both under two-years-old, and have been along on her training in a running stroller. Another part of her training is running or biking on her commute to work.
Seeley works for Wes Health System, a non-profit in North Philadelphia, as director of development. She is trying to get a team together for next year’s marathon, already named “Hello Human,” to raise awareness for behavioral health.
“There is a real connection between physical health and mental health,” said Seeley.
Running has always been her go-to exercise to stay in shape, but she got into competitive running after college.
“Running in general has been a way for me to release stress and sort things out in my life,” said Seeley. “It’s a great way to work through things – it’s the complete human experience.”
One of her favorite rev up songs is Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” She says her biggest inspiration for the marathon is not any particular celebrity, but her fellow runners.
“People are out there with all different abilities,” said Seeley, “and it’s inspiring because we all know all the time, effort and work that went into training.”
Her best time for a marathon overall is 2 hours and 46 minutes at the Austin Marathon in 2006. This Sunday, she hopes to again finish in under three hours, and is excited to get back into marathon running.
“A marathon can be a metaphor for life,” said Seeley, “you try, you struggle, you break down sometimes, but you have to keep going.”
The race kicks off at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning at 22nd Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The entire length of Kelly Drive will be closed from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ridge Avenue (from Midvale to School House Lane) will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., along with Main Street (from Ridge Avenue to Green Lane).