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Racing to 50 in 2013



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August 14, 2013 - Atlas Twp.- By the time February rolls around, many New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside. By August, they may be a distant memory.

Not so for Robin Hoeffel, who set a goal in January of running 50 competitive races by her 50th birthday.

When Hoeffel runs the Crim 10-Mile race on Aug. 24 in Flint, it will be her 46th competitive race of 2013, leaving her with just four more races to run with four months to complete them in.

The township resident celebrates the half-century mark on Dec. 21, and she notes that while many people think that age 50 is "over the hill," she is running up and down hills to prove them wrong and inspire others to overcome challenges in their lives.

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Hoeffel faced numerous obstacles on her way to becoming a runner later in life.

"Sometimes I think I have nine lives," she said. "I've been in a serious car accident, went through several serious illnesses including skin cancer, and I'm little—5 feet tall and 100 pounds. This didn't stop me from running. I'm not the fastest runner, but I find my soul in running—this is my happy place."

The Crim was Hoeffel's first race five years ago and she was happy just to finish it. Now, she has run the 10-mile Crim race every year, as well as numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, fun runs, and half-marathons around Michigan.

Hoeffel completed on Aug. 10 the Run through Hell, a 10-miler in Hell, Mich., with a personal best time of 1:29. Her 5K personal record is 23:12.

The preschool teacher, emergency medical technician, wife, mother of three and grandmother of one, runs in the mornings during the summer and in the evenings when school starts. She runs with friends when doing long distance runs of 10, 12, or 14 miles. She runs a few days a week, with some speedwork and shorter runs, too. On days when she doesn't run, she does cross training including biking, weightlifting and Zumba.

"People want me to do a triathlon, I'm too scared to swim," she laughs. "I don't have a schedule, I listen to my body."

She runs outside at Genesys Health Park or down the roads of Goodrich, in all kinds of weather. She prefers to run in the heat.

"I stay strong and fit so I can be a positive role model for family, friends, my classroom, and the community," said Hoeffel, who is grateful for support from all. "It's not what you have, but what you do with what you have, that makes the difference. I want to be inspiring for all ages, young and old. My motto is, 'Don't let life run you, run for life.'"

With her 50th birthday approaching, she has her eyes on running the Bayshore Marathon next spring, with hopes of qualifying for the 2015 Boston Marathon. And in every run this year, next year and the year after, regardless of the race or place, Hoeffel will celebrate the journey.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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