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Jeanette (Jeannie) Groesz

How long have you been running and why did you start running? I have been running for over 40 years. I started when it became too difficult to fit soccer games and practices into my life as a mother with three children. I played on an adult city-league soccer team and it was really the first sport I was involved with because when I was in high school, it was pre-Title 9. There were no sports for girls. So, running worked well for me. I could fit it in around the family’s schedule. It was my alone-time, a time to recharge and be inspired.

How long have you been part of TRL, and what drew you to the club in the first place? I think I became a part of TRL in 2008. I didn’t live in the Portland area but I had met some Lizards at races and they were my age! So, we were able to form a 55+ team and compete in the Grand Prix series. My first such race was the 6K National XC Championships in Spokane in 2008. Joanna Harper, Suzanne Ray, and I formed the team. I have been privileged to run on a TRL team every year (minus the COVID years) since then. This year was particularly difficult to get a 70+ team together. Fortunately, USATF allows a team to have one out-of-state member, so we have been able to make a team of three for the races, so far. Cande Olsen (NJ) joined us in Tallahassee and Sabra Harvey (TX) in Sacramento. Other 70-year-olds on our team from Oregon are Sharon Gerl, Susan Staffel, and Marilyn Nippold. Suzanne Ray turned 70 in May so she also now joins us. 

What do you do when you’re not running (job, family, school…whatever it is you’d use to introduce yourself outside of running)? When I am not running, I enjoy being a grandma, playing the piano, dabbling in watercolor painting, and visiting with folks in the assisted living facility near my house.

What’s your favorite distance/type of run (5K, half-marathon, marathon, ultras, relays, track, trail, etc.)? I think I enjoy relays or XC team scored races the most. It’s that team aspect that I find the most fun and rewarding.

Where is your favorite place to run in the greater Portland area? As I said, I don’t live in the Portland area but I have done some running there. The XC series that TRL puts on is fantastic, and Pier Park is probably my favorite. Forest Park is also a great place to run. 

What’s your most memorable running experience (or experiences)? My most memorable running experience is a tiny race put on by a friend of a friend. It was called the Arcata to Willow Creek 40 miler, in Northern California. I don’t know if it’s still happening, but I ran it with my husband and friend Valerie a long time ago. It was my farthest run ever, had a lot of elevation, and was grueling and so amazing to finish.

What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? Run for the joy of it; don’t be too serious.

Tell us one fun fact, hidden talent, or something we don’t know about you, but should? I have a favorite Scripture that defines me: “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith …” (Heb 12: 2).

*Editor’s note: TRL is nationally known for the strength of its masters women. Years ago, in fact, when I was doing an article for Running Times in which I asked other club coaches for training tips I was recognized not for my dozens of articles, but because of my association with TRL, which had become known as the premier masters women’s team in the nation, if not the world. One of the people who contributed to that was Jeannie–Rick Lovett