Some have said that runners should start marathons at a young age. But for Lyell Fracas, running marathons came later on in her life.
At the age of 30, the Kirkland resident decided she wanted a challenge and participated in her first marathon, Skagit Flats Marathon and Half Marathon. Since 1994, Fracas has ran 104 marathons.
“When you get out to a new city, [running] 26 miles through [the city] is really a different way to experience it,” Fracas said.
So far, she has run marathons on five continents.
For her 105th marathon, Fracas and her husband Jack Clevenger will run the Boston Marathon on April 15 to raise funds for the nonprofit 261 Fearless Inc.
261 Fearless is a global nonprofit women’s organization founded by Katherine Switzer. Wearing bib number 261, Switzer became the first woman to officially run in the Boston Marathon in 1967. Switzer was attacked in the race by an angry official who tried to rip off her bib number, yet she persisted and finished the race.
To mark the 50th anniversary of her ground-breaking run, Switzer ran the Boston Marathon again in 2017, at the age of 70. The 2017 marathon inspired women around the world.
“I like the idea of empowering women and I support Katherine and what she stands for,” Fracas said in a release.
Nearly three dozen runners will compete in the Boston marathon this year as part of the 261 Fearless Team Boston.
“Bringing the empowerment of running to women around the world begins with a single step,” Switzer said in a release. “261 Fearless is honored that our Team Boston charity runners have taken the step – and many more.”
261 Fearless uses running as a way to empower and unite women through the creation of local running clubs, education programs, communication platforms and social running events. Currently, there are 50 clubs on five continents.
“I’m inspired by what she’s trying to do,” Fracas said of Switzer. “It’s nice to know and see what’s happening with the organization. The money raised is going towards women. They are empowering [them].”
This is Fracas’s second time running Boston for 261 Fearless.
Fracas said if women are interested in running a marathon, it’s easy to get started.
“[You] just gotta get out there. Get your shoes and do it. If you think you might want to challenge yourself to a longer event, gradually start increasing your mileage,” Fracas said. “It may seem impossible but I’ve seen many train to do it.”