Running can create superheroes. Just ask Michele Prieve Wilkinson (45) of Milton, Wisconsin, who ran her first 5K in 2003 to raise money for a friend with breast cancer. On 9/22/2008 the disease struck even closer to home when Michele herself was diagnosed with cancer. A fitness manager for an athletic club, she continues to beat cancer by crossing the finish line of every race she enters - persevering each time in honor of a cancer survivor. Focal Flame Photography, the official event photography service provider for the 2014 Madison Marathon events, asked her about why she runs.
Q&A with Milton, WI runner Michele Prieve Wilkinson
Focal Flame Photography: How many Madison Marathons or Half Marathons have you run
Wilkinson: I have run the Madison Half Marathon six times.
FFP: How many total marathons or half marathons have you run?
Wilkinson: Two full marathons and sixteen half marathons.
FFP: Do you participate in other similar events? What are a few of your favorites?
Wilkinson: I have participated in two IronMans and three half IronMans. My favorites are Madison Marathon, Wisconsin Marathon, and IronMan Wisconsin.
FFP: Are there any personal accomplishments you would like to mention?
Wilkinson: I finish every race I enter.
FFP: With so many races to choose from, why do you participate in the Madison Marathon?
Wilkinson: I really enjoy events in the Madison area as it was my hometown for 38 years. It is truly an incredible city and it makes my heart happy to run on the streets of such a beautiful community.
FFP: Do you do anything to make the race more meaningful or fun?
Wilkinson: For the past 5.5 years I have run almost every race wearing a pink cape to celebrate being a breast cancer survivor. Each race I run in honor of a cancer survivor, to celebrate them and all they have been through. This keeps me present during a race. When times get tough I remind myself that they cannot give up, so I can't give up either and I can push through for a short time.
I typically do all races with a friend but this year I am challenging myself to run this marathon solo. I will be racing every race in honor of my father, E. Arthur (Al) Prieve, who passed away on March 19. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the incredible life that he led than to run through the streets that he called home for 50+ years.
FFP: What would you tell other racers about participating in the Madison Marathon?
Michelle: The race is extremely well run, the course is beautiful and Madison is a great place to be!
FFP: Is there anything else about your journey as a runner that you would like to share?
Wilkinson: I ran my very first 5K, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, in 2003. That race sparked my love for running and in turn was there to support me from my diagnosis forward. That race (and diagnosis) makes me want to continue to live life to the fullest! Distance running makes me feel alive — my goal is to finish each race that I enter, having the best time possible. Let's face it, I won't ever "win", but when I cross the finish line I have beaten cancer one more time ... so, yes, I have "won" many races. :)
- article by Deborah Proctor
This article is part of a series featuring athletes who are participating in a Madison Marathon Event May 24-25 and/or November 9, 2014. For more information or to register, visit Madison Marathon.