Greta Stults moved back to DC from Switzerland only just weeks ago and as a Foreign Service Officer in the State Department she is accustomed to change. Greta is a former gymnast and took up running to stay in shape as a poor graduate student. When her path crossed with Pacers // GRC – New Balance Coach Jerry Alexander she had no idea how her running would change.
Before she moved abroad Greta was working with Jerry and to this day attests she has “no idea what he saw in me”. Greta says she was a solid middle of the pack runner and Jerry offered to work with her while he was coaching his GRC athletes at the track. At the time Greta was leading group runs, meeting new people, and enjoying the ease of running. She ran her first marathon about a year and half after she began running and thought it would be cool to improve her times.
Greta says there was no magic pill that helped her get faster. She opted to surround herself with people who were better than her and asked them a lot of questions on how she could improve. She made running a priority, worked to increase her mileage, and found it helpful to her to work with her coach. There is no one way to drop time but Greta has had great success with her training and now rather than practicing alongside GRC she is practicing with them. Clearly Coach Jerry knows what he is looking at even when the athlete is not always sure.
Now that she is back in DC Greta is training for the Richmond Marathon in November. The humidity in DC has been a rude welcome back from her training in Switzerland. Running in Switzerland Greta says pretty close to the ideal. She regularly ran on the most organized and well-marked trails she has ever encountered. The possibility to run from one side of the county to the other without a map is not even a far-fetched goal. She does not love the out and back long run and would plan a route and take a train 20 miles away and run back. If she overestimated the distance the public transportation there was so good there was no reason to be concerned if her running math was off. All races were community events in Switzerland each one always had a podium and an awards ceremony. There is always food and celebration yet the field is still very competitive. She won first prize money racing there and at another race won a quarter wheel of cheese!
Greta is admittedly not a morning person and is trying to change that before her next post in Afghanistan. She has gotten some advice from her peers to get in her workout there from 4-6am since no one is going to call her then and no one is going to take that time away from her. Unlike Switzerland and DC, in Afghanistan she will be confined to run around the compound. She knows there is a wonderful community there to train and workout with but is as much the opposite of her other posts as you can get.
Greta’s goal with her running is simple and relatable; she plans to keep improving her times. She has learned from running that you don’t know your own potential and two years ago the thought of breaking 3 hours in the marathon was pie in the sky for her. She believes she not a natural runner at all, she completed her first 10K in over an hour and is clear she was training for the race. Everyone can be a runner, it is all what you put your mind to, anyone can improve and Greta is proof of that.