Morton says she just wants to finish Sunday’s race
Eleanor Morton will be keeping a special promise on Sunday.
The 48-year-old east Mountain resident told her uncle Bill Smith that she was going to run in the annual Around the Bay Road Race.
Smith died from cancer last year and at 9:30 on Sunday morning Morton will be amongst the 8,500 runners in downtown Hamilton taking part in the annual 30 kilometre event that dates back to 1894.
Morton, who is also manager of senior services in Hamilton, ran a 10 kilometre portion of the race last year and has been running three times a week to prepare for this year’s event.
She said her only goal is to complete the 30 kilometres.
“I don’t have a time,” Morton said. “I will be extremely happy if I can finish it within four-and-a-half hours (the time limit for the race).”
Taking part in the race is quite an accomplishment for someone who only three years ago weighed more than 200 pounds.
Morton said she was suffering some weight-related knee problems and decided it was time for a lifestyle change.
She gave up smoking, changed her diet to include more fruits and vegetables and no red meat and to began to run again.
“I ran when I was younger,” Morton said. “I had probably a good 20 years where I didn’t run at all.”
She also began attending a physical fitness boot camp where participants engage in 60 minutes of intense activity that can include pushing truck tires, lifting weights and doing push-ups.
“The first couple of classes, I felt I was going to have a heart attack,” Morton recalled. “That’s how intense it was.”
All of the hard work paid off as Morton dropped 60 pounds.
“I probably feel the best I’ve felt in my life,” said Morton who still attends the boot camp six days a week and can often be seen running along some of the busier roads on the central and east Mountain. “If your body’s healthy, your mind’s healthy.”
Like many of the other participants this weekend, Morton will be running to raise funds for St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, noting her uncle received some of his cancer treatment at St. Joes.
“I believe I’m fortunate, I’m lucky in life,” Morton said. “This is one more way I can help out.”
Morton said she hopes to raise $1,000 for St. Joes and she’s getting plenty of pledges from the seniors at the Sackville Hill Seniors Recreation Centre where her office is located.
While she prefers running in warm temperatures, Morton said she’s ready to take on the cold.
She’ll be wearing number 6669 on Sunday.
“It wasn’t the number I wanted,” Morton said. “But I looked at it in a positive way that people will remember that number.”
If all goes well, Morton plans to take on a bigger challenge in the future.
“I’m hoping in two years to possibly be in the Boston Marathon,” she said. “That’s my dream.”