Wrenshall family makes Grandma’s a family eventFor the Burleson family of Wrenshall, running is more than just a family affair. It’s a topic of conversation. Jane Burleson, 52, and her husband Jeffrey, 62, have made the third Sunday in June a way to spend time together in a unique way.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
For the Burleson family of Wrenshall, running is more than just a family affair. It’s a topic of conversation.
Jane Burleson, 52, and her husband Jeffrey, 62, have made the third Sunday in June a way to spend time together in a unique way.
Jeffrey has run the last 24 Grandma’s Marathons and Jane has run the last 20.
The Burlesons have seven grandchildren, making Jane one of the very few local “Grandma’s grandmas” entered in the race.
That little bit of irony isn’t lost on Jane.
“I’m very fortunate in that my husband runs too,” she said. “We each ran our own marathons separately at first. Now we run the race together.”
Jane ran her first marathon in a shade over four hours, and it remains her best time.
“It was amazing, to finish the race,” she said. “Finishing your first marathon feels absolutely amazing.”
Like many runners, Jane was a runner long before trying a marathon.
“I got into running because it was growing in popularity and I ran for many years before ever trying a marathon,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d ever try to run a full one.”
Obviously, both Jane and her husband stayed the course. And now, the family’s running pedigree is much more pronounced.
“Sometimes my husband’s brother, Clint, joins us when he comes up from New Mexico,” Jane said. “He ran Grandma’s before we ever did.”
But wait, as they say, there’s more.
“My daughter Jill came up from Chicago and ran the race five times before she decided to retire,” she added. “Now Jeffrey’s nephew Todd also comes up to run the race and his daughter Maggie is now a marathon runner and she’s 15.”
“We’ve got a number of us now,” Jane said. “We get lots of family and friends together on the weekend of the race.”
However, anyone who has ever successfully trained for a marathon will tell you that the running season is a lot more than just race day.
“By knowing the marathon is coming, it’s the incentive to train on days you know you wouldn’t want to,” she said. “We have a short training loop that we do consistently, but we like to run a marathon in April and one in training every two or three weeks.”
This year, the Burlesons have already completed marathons in Washington, D.C. and Fargo.
“But Grandma’s is special,” she said. “It was the first marathon for both of us.”
Training for this year’s race was actually helped by the cooler spring weather.
“You have good and bad days, but cold and yucky isn’t bad for training,” she said. “Warm and sunny is a lot harder!”
Yet one obvious question remains: What about the grandchildren? Will they run?
Jane says it’s too early to tell. The seven youngest family members are too young to run for distance.
“Most of them are on the young end,” Jane said. “They range from nine years of age to 11 months.”
Admittedly, 11 months is a bit young for a 26-mile race.
But someday, well, you never know.