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Terre Haute woman running milestone race at Indy Mini-Marathon

Terre Haute runner Susan Skelton

Skelton said she’s turning her attention to completing the 50-state challenge on her 60th birthday in 2025. (Devan Ridgway/WTIU)

Susan Skelton has run the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon route many times.

The Terre Haute native ran her fist Indy Mini in 1997. But after running the 13.1-mile half-marathon each of the next two years, she figured she was done with the running.

But Saturday, she’ll be lacing up her shoes one more time for the event that culminates at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Why?

“Well, the Indy Mini was my first one, so let’s see if we can make it No. 100,” Skelton said.

Inspired by her husband training for a triathlon in the late 2000s, Skelton decided to get back into running.

“And I kind of just researched half-marathons and totally fell down the rabbit hole of everything that’s out there,” Skelton said.

In 2014, Skelton ran her 50th half-marathon in Fishers. All-time, she has completed 314 timed races, with distances from one mile to a full marathon.

“I would say it definitely can be an addiction,” she said.

It wasn’t until 2018 that Skelton realized the number of half-marathons she’s completed in Indiana. Her original goal was to complete the 50 states challenge - or the completion of one half-marathon in each of the 50 states.

After checking her stats, Skelton realized that she had run 92 half-marathons in Indiana.

“But there’s something magical about that 100,” Skelton said. “You know, when you think you get a 100 on a test, that’s a perfect.”

So after running seven more minis in the state, she will hit the magical 100 number Saturday.

For her, the Indy Mini has all the best parts of a race. From the aid stations and the fans to the cloggers and the course, Skelton loves how visually stimulating it is.

“And before you know it, you’re approaching that last three-quarters of a mile, headed back into downtown, and you got those checker flags just lined up,” she said. “I mean, I’m getting goosebumps just talking about it.

“And there’s just that rush to know that you’re about to accomplish something, maybe a long time ago you never thought you could do.”

For Skelton, prioritizing her health comes first.

Whenever she runs, she thinks about her family’s history of heart disease and losing her father nearly three decades ago.

“Because, for me, it’s not about setting a PR or how fast can I run, but it’s that social aspect,” she said. “Meeting friends, getting to see different places, and, hopefully, maintaining a different level of overall health.”

This will be Skelton’s third race back after shoulder surgery last year, so she said she will be run-walking the course.

“Run when you can. If you can't run, walk. Walk when you can. And if you can’t walk, crawl,” she said. “But just keep forward motion until you get it done.”

At the end of the day, Skelton says someone’s slow is another person’s fast.

“So, just always run your race and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks about that,” she said. “Get it done for you; you are the most important thing in your journey.”

Skelton and her black and white checkered tutu are warmed up and ready for the race. As of now, she thinks it’ll be her last Indiana half-marathon until the 50th running of the race in 2026.

She said she’s turning her attention to completing the 50-state challenge on her 60th birthday in 2025.

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