Popalis Family History
Friday, January 18, 2002
Pottsville Republican/Evening Herald
Popalis is preparing for Boston Marathon
BY TIM DEMKO
SHENANDOAH - Imagine all the people in the world who have ever decided
to start a project and later realized that it was one of the greatest
ideas they ever considered.
Just a whim, like going out for your high school football team with no
experience and having a scholarship offer at the end of your senior year
to one of the best colleges in the country.
Renee Popalis decided that she wanted to give running a try and as she
put it, "all you need is a pair of sneakers."
Eleven years after she began running for the Cardinal Brennan cross
country team, she's now preparing to run one of the biggest races of her
life - the Boston Marathon.
On a day when Americans have to file in their annual income tax
returns, April 15, Popalis will have other things to contend with as she
takes part in this legendary race.
"I just want to finish and enjoy the experience of being there," said
Popalis, who has an added twist to her running.
Her husband, Matthew, and her younger brother, Brian, both plan to run
with Popalis to keep her company and help motivate her along the route.
At the Philadelphia Marathon held Nov. 18, Brian, who resides in
Queens, N.Y., ran the first 14 miles, and her husband the last 12.
Because of it, Renee achieved the necessary time to qualify for Boston.
"I needed to finish in 3 hours, 40 minutes," said Racis, who lives in
Bloomsburg. "I finished with a 3:30.03 and was really happy that I brought
my time down from 3:45."
Popalis has begun her training regimen by running 20-24 miles in one
week, then incorporates speed work in another to build endurance.
Some of the races she's participated in include the Rock N' Roll Half
Marathon in Virgina Beach, the Atlantic City Marathon, the Steamtown
Marathon in Scranton and the Runner's World Half Marathon in Allentown.
Like most things, though, Popalis wasn't the greatest runner when she
started, nor did she have much endurance.
"You've got to start somewhere," added Popalis. "When I first started,
I couldn't run a mile without stopping.
"I guess you just have to get into a certain mindset and go ahead and
try it. You have got to start somewhere and just take it day-by-day."
A simple but easy phrase, along with encouraging parents, brother and
husband, have allowed Popalis to forge ahead in overcoming what some may
call overwhelming odds.
"My parents, Matthew and Brian have all been great with everything,"
said Popalis. "I enjoy fundraising for the different events, such as the
Team in Training for Leukemia' and Courage for Cancer.'
"It's a lot of fun and I enjoy running."
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