Madison Marathon Profile: Jan Hagen

Madison athlete Janet (Jan) Hagen, age 65, is an avid runner. Between 2000 and 2003 she completed a marathon in each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Hagen is headed for a triple-digit accomplishment: she will celebrate the completion of her 100th marathon when she crosses the Madison Marathon finish line on November 9th, 2014.

Focal Flame Photography, official race photographers for the 2014 Madison Marathon, asked Jan about her love of the sport.

Jan Hagen competing in the 2013 Lake Monona 20K race. © 2013 Focal Flame Photography | Photo credit: Clint Thayer

Jan Hagen competing in the 2013 Lake Monona 20K race. © 2013 Focal Flame Photography | Photo credit: Clint Thayer

Focal Flame Photography (FFP): You have completed four Madison Marathons. What other running events are your favorites?
 I have qualified for the Boston marathon and completed the race in 2012. Local favorites include:  Madison Mini Marathon, High Cliff Half-Ironman Triathlon, Green Lake (Ripon) Half Marathon, Silver Lake Triathlon, Lake Winneconne Triathlon, Chicago Half-Marathon, Wo Zha Wa Days Half Marathon, Syttende Mai 20 mile run, and Lake Monona 20K.

Jan Hagen's Personal Story

FFP: What does running in events such as the Madison Marathon mean to you?
 I enjoy setting fitness and wellness goals and the sense of accomplishment in achieving those goals.  

FFP: With so many races to choose from, why do you participate in the Madison Marathon?
 I have lived in Madison for over 30 years and have walked or run much of the marathon course at various times.  Running the Madison Marathon is a way to reflect on my past and the city's history and share in the excitement and energy of being a part of this great community. 

FFP: Do you do anything to make the race more meaningful or fun?
I like to get in the spirit of a run on holidays and dress accordingly.  It is fun to see the creativity of other runners and the costumes they devise.  When I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2000 (it was held just before Halloween that year), a group of runners ran as a pumpkin: 8 runners together under a large orange canopy, each of them wearing a green “stem” hat. Now, that's teamwork in many senses of the word!!

FFP: What would you tell other racers about participating in the Madison Marathon?
The Madison Marathon is special because it is a way to “showcase” the city to runners from other regions, states and countries.  It is a fun race, with a lot of variety and good crowd support.  

FFP: Is there anything else about your journey as a runner that you would like to share?  
After completing my 100th marathon, I plan to continue running but in shorter distance races. Having been diagnosed with and successfully treated for thyroid cancer two years ago, and osteopenia and arthritis for the past several years, I am motivated to pursue a healthy lifestyle that includes running.  Once I can't run anymore, I plan to take up other fitness endeavors appropriate for my health status and hopefully inspire others to be more aware of how fitness contributes to a fulfilling lifestyle.

Jan's response to our questions included this inspirational quote:
"Winners are too busy to be sad, too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, too determined to be defeated."  - Anonymous

We salute Jan and all participants in the Fall Madison Marathon – whether the event is your first or 101st, we celebrate your accomplishment!

This article is part of a series featuring athletes who are participating in a Madison Marathon event in 2014. The Fall Half-Marathon and Marathon races will occur on November 9 on the streets of Wisconsin's capitol city.  For more information or to register, visit Madison Marathon.

- interview by Deborah Proctor