RICHMOND, Va. -- The finish line is what every runner strives for when competing in a race, but one Richmond woman has crossed it so many times over the course of 37 years, she has lost count.
“A lot of times you don’t even pay attention to the miles,” said 66-year-old Terry Miffleton.
The avid runner says she wouldn't describe herself as athletic, but the 40 miles a week she runs tells a different story.
The running bug bit the registered nurse hard while working at Retreat Hospital in the late 1970’s.
“Three of my friends were on a team and they needed a fourth person,” she recalled.
Since then she hasn’t looked back, only ahead.
“Nope. Kept on going. Kind of like a Timex. Take a licking and keep on ticking,” said Miffleton with a smile.
The goal driven nurse always keeps her eye on the finish line and many of them.
“This will be 75,” she said.
This month the 66-year-old will compete in her 75th marathon.
“If running makes you crazy, I must be crazy,” said Miffleton.
Her competitive spirit has carried her through marathons from Boston to San Francisco.
“Thousands of miles I’ll tell you that,” she said.
The Richmond woman doesn’t discriminate. She’s competed in all types of races, 5k’s, 8k’s, 9k’s and 10k’s.
In fact, she has competed in every single Monument Avenue 10k.
“My husband and I have run every one of them.”
When the mother and grandmother started running female distance runners were virtually non-existent in Richmond.
In fact, she was forced to wear men’s running shoes because female shoes weren’t available.
“To see this sport grow like it has is just phenomenal,” said Miffleton.
“She is double tough. Double tough,” said running coach and friend, Blair Just.
He calls Miffleton a trailblazer.
“She was definitely an outlier and she definitely set the tone for what was possible,” he added.
What is impossible to ignore though is Miffleton’s marathon days are nearing an end.
“I’m getting old now and the old dog doesn’t hunt like she used to,” Miffleton said with a laugh.
Following this month’s Richmond marathon, she will step away from long distance running.
“It is bittersweet. It really is. It is like retirement,” she said.
The 66-year-old says she wants to preserve her legs for shorter runs well into her 90’s and beyond.
As she trains for this one last hurrah, Terry Miffleton is reluctantly putting one foot in front of the other.
“A part of me is going to be really sad. Really sad,” she said.
Because Terry knows each step is moving her closer to the finish line one last time.
“It will really be hard to give it up. It really will. Because running has been a big part of my life.”
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