HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – A Hutchinson grandma is the second person to complete the 1000K virtual race from the St. Louis Gateway Arch to the Kansas, Colorado State Line.
“I guess for me, it’s a miracle! I never even considered placing,” said Val Dryden.
Dryden, 65, started running in her late 20s.
“I ran my first race 36 years ago this past Fourth of July. I ran a 2-mile race although I had never run 2 miles before, but I made it through and three weeks later I ran a 10K,” she explained.
The mom of four then started training more regularly, often times waking up before dawn to get in her miles.
“It became my prayer time. I could talk to God. I could listen to him and he inspired me,” Dryden said.
Dryden’s love for running grew as the years passed. Her family took notice.
“When I turned 50, my children entered me in a marathon for my birthday,” she laughed. “I didn’t want to waste their money because they are costly, so I ran it and I made it!”
Since then, Dryden has run nearly every single day. A social media post about the Run the States Challenge sparked her interest.
“I thought that was interesting, so I looked it up and they were doing a run across Missouri, run across Kansas and a run across I-70 which would include from the St. Louis arch to Colorado,” Dryden explained.
Dryden soon signed up, beginning the virtual race on May 25, 2020.
“I just figured I would run what I always run. I try to run 10 to 13 miles a day and so I started it at that,” she said.
Dryden completed the more than 621-mile race in just 43 days striding into a homemade finish line outside her home on July 7, 2020. Even then, her humility shined through.
“I am just a normal everyday person. We never had a lot of money to join running clubs and have special clothes or anything we just went out and run,” Dryden said. “Anybody can do it. It doesn’t matter if you are slow. Just keep at it. Compete against yourself.”
Dryden said her next goal is to run a marathon with confidence while growing in her relationship with God.
“My philosophy is as long as I can run I am going to run. When I can’t run, I am going to walk until I can’t walk,” she said.
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