The map on the wall of her cubicle at Southern California Edison (SCE) is not only evidence of where Paige Conner has been, but a constant reminder of the remaining stops along the way to her goal of running 50 marathons in 50 states before turning 50.
Conner’s first marathon was the LA Marathon in 2006. Now at age 45, she has already completed 26.2 miles in 35 states and is well on her way to completing her goal of 50 marathons.
“Every place has wonderful surprises and great people,” she said. “It is electrifying to see strangers lining the route and cheering you on and encouraging you. I often think that if we could bottle up that generosity of spirit and bring it to the workplace, that could really help.”
It was a few years back at a race on Catalina Island that she met another runner who talked about the 50 states club. Conner thought the challenge of completing 50 marathons would be a great way to continue running and see the country at the same time.
Especially important to her was the opportunity to travel with her mom, her unofficial coach, and share her accomplishments and the joys of discovering new places.
“My mother passed almost two years ago and when I run, I feel her,” said Conner. “Life is precious and we should live each moment as best we can with gratitude, living in the moment — running helps me capture that.”
A nine-year employee in SCE’s Human Resources Department, Conner is the manager for Executive Talent Planning and Development. She says HR work can be hard at times, but she sees her job as “providing support and working with people on finding the best possible solutions for the unique issues they may face along their career path.”
No. 35 on Conner’s map is pinned on Michigan, where she recently finished her latest marathon along scenic Lake Michigan. Next on the list is a visit to Pennsylvania in September for the Erie Marathon along the Great Lake. This October, Conner and her running partner will run two marathons in as many days in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
But Conner insists she is not a runner.
“I am not a runner!” she said. “I don’t have a runner’s build, but when I run, I have a chance to breathe and think, and sometimes even an opportunity to try to solve problems I may be working on at the office. It is a great way to stay healthy and to travel and see the country.”
Conner believes that running is 90 percent mental. She typically trains 10 to 15 hours a week, but trained much more extensively when she did an Ironman triathlon competition last June (a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a marathon run).
With five years left to reach her 50 marathons in 50 states goal, Conner is already thinking of new goals to set.
“I think about events I have not run yet and perhaps about events on every continent, or about maybe climbing Kilimanjaro,” she said.
Conner has simple advice for people interested in running.
“I tell people to set a goal, to start little by little,” she said, “To get together with others who can help and to go after it bit by bit.”