Four years ago, at the mere age of 20, Laura Skladzinski (pronounced Skwa-JIN- skee) strapped on her running shoes for the first time. The self-proclaimed "worst student in her grade school gym classes", made that decision and it changed her life. Now at the age of 24, she is poised to become the youngest person to ever complete a marathon in all 50 states! And what's better, she chose Team Ortho Foundation's Minneapolis Marathon to be the race to get her final state -- Minnesota!
Laura said her love for running began when she was interning in Florida and struggling to get settled. So she chose to do two things: learn to cook and learn to run. She said the cooking was easy, but the running was hard. In a few months she did a 5K and by mid-2008 she she finished her first marathon -- and has been doing it ever since!
To meet her goal, Laura has been flying to destinations to run on the weekends, all while holding down a full time job. She's even run two marathons in one weekend. "The first was [last] summer," Laura recalled, "...where I got to visit Salt Lake City and run one on Founder's Day (a state holiday there). I then flew us back to New York on a redeye flight and then connected up to Saginaw, Michigan, where I managed to run even ten minutes faster than in Salt Lake! The second “double” marathon I did was much easier on the travel: the first was in New Hampshire, and then I drove a few hours to Portland, ME to do one there the next day."
Life will be a little easier when she comes to Minneapolis on June 6th, when she's only doing the Team Ortho Foundation event. Her selection of our event was pretty strategic on her part, "I wanted to choose a race that was big, but not so big I'd get lost in the shuffle. I wanted it to be in a city that made travel easy, so my friends and family could come. Most of all, I wanted a race that had gotten good reviews, and all my friends who ran the inaugural said it was fantastic!" Laura said. "My initial marathon training was mostly done along the Hudson River in New York City and the Charles River in Boston, so now I really love running by a river. I'm excited about getting to experience that in new city."
So what is she most looking forward to in this race? She says to her the answer is clear.: The finish line :) I'm inviting all my family and friends and we are going to celebrate for sure! However, this is not to say I'm not going to enjoy myself every step of the race. I want to go big in this race, but I haven't decided yet whether that means aiming for a new PR or just taking my time, introducing myself to everyone I see, and partying all along the way."
Whatever Laura decides we're sure she'll have a fantastic time! If you see her along the course make sure to say hi!
You can follow all of Laura's travels on her blog. We wish her the best at the Minneapolis Marathon.