“Be a Tree.” The Philosophy of Resilient Runner Glo Maldonado

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Provided by Anika Metcalf

runner Glo Maldonado

Glo Maldonado

Just after passing the first mile marker of the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, Glorimar “Glo” Maldonado felt a horrific pain shoot up the back of her right hamstring. Maldonado, who usually is a middle pack runner, fell behind and found herself being chased by the sweeper bus. She desperately wanted go to the medical tent and give up. More than halfway through the race, she spotted a man running in a full leg cast. It was then she realized she needed to finish the race; that if someone in a full leg cast could do it, certainly she could as well. Maldonado finished the race with a torn hamstring. She went back to the hotel and sprawled out on the shower floor fully clothed.

Virtual Race Platforms

Manassas resident Glo Maldonado, 46, is running the virtual Marine Corps Marathon this year. While this is her first time running this particular marathon, she is an experienced runner and has  participated in multiple 5Ks, 10Ks, and half-marathons in the past. Completing a full marathon has always been a goal.

She switched to virtual race platforms in 2014. Because of the virtual setting for this year’s Marine Corps Marathon, she decided to participate. This year, runners have from Sept. 27 through Nov. 10 to complete the race. Despite the difficult decision to go virtual, Maldonado was one of 3,300 who signed up because of its virtual setting. She enjoys virtual races because she is able to complete them at home. While they are still challenging, Maldonado describes them as less stressful.

Why She Runs

Maldonado has been running for years, and has pushed through more than just physical injuries. She experienced a difficult divorce in 2011, and has since remarried. Maldonado began running to overcome her divorce and her co-dependency, what she describes as her two biggest obstacles in life. She began a 12-step program for co-dependence years ago, and she now is a sponsor for that same program. Maldonado is a diversity program manager for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and what she does in the 12-step program is very similar to what she does for her work. “She brings folks together and bridges gaps,” Kim Scarborough, Maldonado’s close friend and coworker, said. “She encourages others to be their best selves. All of what she does folds over to every aspect of her life.”  Sarah Swift, another close friend of Maldonado’s, said, “Glo is incredibly determined. She is a very dependable, loving person who loves people in all their broken places.”

Maldonado uses running as a form of self-care. She and her husband, who is in the Army Reserves, like to take long walks and hikes together for leisure and as a way to prepare for her races. It was on one of these long hikes when she came up with the word that perfectly describes what she wants out of life. Hiking with her husband on the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee and surrounded by nature, Maldonado thought of her word and her life philosophy: “Be a tree.”

Maldonado seems to embody exactly what it means to be a tree. “Trees are resilient, hearty, giving, adaptable, and they grow in any condition,” Maldonado said. Her friends describe her simiarly. “She weathers the storm, she stays grounded, and she has the resilience to bounce back,” Swift said. Maldonado also appreciates a tree’s ability to “let go,” something many people have a difficult time doing.

Facing Obstacles

Throughout Maldonado’s life and the difficult obstacles she has faced, she has continued to stay grounded and keep running with a focus on finishing. Some obstacles are more visible than others, such as a full leg cast. Some obstacles are unseen. Maldonado was inspired to finish the Disney half marathon not by the runner with the fastest time, but by the man much farther behind the first-place finisher in a full leg cast. His determination to push through his own obstacle motivated Maldonado to do the same.

Maldonado has found strength in sharing her story and inspiring others to finish, by whatever means possible. For Maldonado, to push through is to finish. “To give up in the middle of something is a real shame, especially when you just need a little encouragement. Push through no matter what.” Maldonado is set to complete the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend.

Anika Metcalf is a Manassas resident and a student at Catholic University of America.









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