INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Inactivity was a way of life for community planner Rose Scovel, 38, the director of capacity building with the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development.
“The long-running joke in college was that I wouldn’t run unless I was being chased by a big hairy scary person and even then I wouldn’t because I wouldn’t get very far anyway,” Scovel says with a laugh.
Her life changed in 2008 when she was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.
“I did not expect that phone call at age 32,” says Rose. “It was the kick in the pants I needed that said ‘yes, some things need to change.'”
Scovel began walking on a treadmill 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week. The piece of cardio equipment had been sitting unused in a bedroom for three years. Within two months of her diagnosis, Scovel’s best friend encouraged her to walk a Halloween-themed 5k.
“At the time, I didn’t know if I could even walk 3 miles,” says Scovel. “But it was the most amazing experience ever and I fell in love with racing.”
Scovel began walking longer distances and was challenged by a high school friend in the spring of 2009 to walk the One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, a distance of 13.1 miles.
“I had no idea how long it would take me,” says Scovel, who finished in 3 hours, 19 minutes. She still has her race bib and medal from her first Mini-Marathon.
Scovel made the transition from walking to running in the fall of 2009. Since her diagnosis, she has completed more than 120 races at every distance from 5k to full marathon. She has also done a 100 mile bike race and up to an Olympic distance triathlon.
“I’m always scheduled for races so I always have something I’m working towards,” says Scovel.
Scovel keeps a spreadsheet of all of her race distances and results to track her progress at each distance. Currently, she is training to compete in a half-Ironman in Muncie, July 12.
“Since I started, I haven’t gone more than 3 consecutive days without doing something active,” says Scovel.
Scovel now serves as a half-marathon pacer for the running and walking group Indy Runners. She paces a three-hour group during the Carmel and Geist half marathons.