Marathon Runner Jess McLellan Loves the Hunger Run
Jess McLellan works as the kitchen supervisor at the Union Gospel Mission Crisis Shelter for Women and Children. She is also a serious runner who has competed in the Hunger Run the past two years. Here, she gives us the inside scoop on her running history and routines.
I started running in July 2011. I would meet with my friend mentor/friend once a week and found out that she ran full marathons. I was looking to get fit and set new goals for my life. I started running a half a mile every day. When I reached 2 miles, I started racing. The Dwight Dash 5k in 2012 was my first race. About that time, a full marathon became my dream – one that seemed very far away…until I completed a couple half marathons. After 2 half marathons, a few 5ks, and 25ks, I started training harder and finally reached my goal of a full marathon.
Q. What do you like about running?
I love to run because it’s simple. All you do is lace up a pair of your favorite running shoes and head out the door. The hardest thing about running is just showing up and heading out the door. For me, running is a form of moving. It’s my time during each day to really get away from it all and be with my thoughts. There’s nothing I enjoy by putting my headlamp on early morning and watching the sunrise from a trail of hill. Running is the one activity that’s physically exhausting but mentally and emotionally recharging. Every run presents a new challenge, a new opportunity to push myself, and a new time to reflect on everything else going on. In my life, running brings me sanity.
Q. What’s your favorite running attire?
I like to run in fleece, leggings and hoodie, Merrell minimalist shoes which are barefoot shoes and Vibram toe shoes in the summer. I use a Nathan hydration vest and Darn Tough wool socks. I track my runs with Epson watch that lasts up to 30 hours without a single charge. Longer runs consist of more running gear depending on the distance I go.
Q. What’s your running routine look like?
My running schedule usually is up by 4:00 a.m. and out the door by 4:40. I aim for six miles 5-6 days of the week. When I am training, which is most of the year, I run six miles every day, ending with a 20-plus mile run at the end of the week. Saturday morning I head out about the same time in the morning. Sunday I also head out for another long run. I run two back-to-back longs during training season. I train hard and long leading to rest day which is a cross training day usually. I strive for 30-50 miles by the end of the week.
Q. Tell us about the runs you have completed.
I have run several 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, 25ks, marathons, and 2 50k. I got 3rd place overall at the Newman Lake 25k, 1st place for my age group at Priest Lake Marathon, and 1st place for my age group at Hunger Run 10k last year. I always plan on running a few big races in a year and set some big goals in working hard to complete those goals. It gives me something to aim for during my training.
Q. I know you have some big plans for the future. Can you tell us about your current running goals?
Currently, I’m training for a 50-miler this June. I’m running nearly every day before work and sometimes even two runs in a single day. Cross training and strength training either before I run or after. All depends on what the day looks like.
When I’m not running I am spending quality time with my family. Going on dates with my husband, taking my teenage boy to the mall, living a pretty balanced life with God, family, work, and then running.
Q. Did you run in the Hunger Run the last two years? How was that experience?
I have run in the Hunger run the last two years. It is a great experience. It’s a fun new race and pulls in a diverse, enjoyable group of runners and even walkers.
Q. Why should someone participate in the Hunger Run?
The Hunger Run is a great race supporting the Union Gospel Mission and Second Harvest. Plus, it’s a great training option with a 5k and 10k on a nice course near the Spokane River. It’s a race that I plan on running every year. It gives us a chance to set some new goals for the year. You can try for a new distance you’ve never run before. And fight hunger at the same time!