CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A woman preparing for her first full marathon said running has changed her life. Marissa Simington began running 10 years ago.

“Running is life,” she said. “It’s so fun and there’s so many areas of life I compare myself to, but in running it’s just me against the clock and that’s so neat.”

Simington ran the Christie Clinic Illinois Half Marathon in 2019 after six weeks of “crash training.” She said she realized at mile 7.5 (despite setting a PR), lifestyle changes would have to be made. Simington decided to run the full 26 miles in 2020, the year she’ll be 26 for the marathon. She’s lost 54 pounds in the past 10 months. 

“I’m just looking forward to that moment when I cross the finish line because I’ve thought about it so many times,” Simington said.

She shares a passion for running with her parents who each completed their first half marathons in their 40s. Simington cheered each of them on at the finish line. Now, she’s looking forward to seeing them at hers. Simington hopes her journey to the finish line can inspire someone.

“I’m not an Olympian,” she said. “I’m really not even fast, like a turtle through molasses. I’m not quick at all, but I changed my life with running.”