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More than marathons

Adventist Health Fitness

Vicki and Emillie Vicki Classen, telephone operator at Adventist Health Portland, is closing in on her 100th marathon. She began this quest with her husband 30 years ago and has carried it on since he passed away in 2012.

Joined by her daughter, Emillie Niblack, customer care associate at Adventist Health Portland, Vicki has run a marathon race every two weeks since March of 2017. Her 99th race will be the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon on July 4. Vicki then plans to log her 100th race on July 15 at the Olympia Lakefair Marathon.

Vicki began running in 1987 with her husband. "We were inspired by watching the Portland Marathon decided we wanted to do it for ourselves," says Vicki. Starting with just one mile runs, they worked their way up to marathon distance. Vicki's husband, Gary, completed 72 marathons before he passed away in 2012. Vicki and Emillie have adopted his goal of completing 100 marathons.

Training for marathons takes a lot of time, discipline and desire. For Vicki and Emillie it's something they share together. Through their weekly long runs they spend time talking and even in prayer.

A culture of wellness at work

Adventist Health's LivingWell program has encouraged this already fit pair to develop an even healthier lifestyle. Though already passionate about fitness and exercise, both Vicki and Emillie say Adventist Health's LivingWell employee wellness program helped them achieve personal wellness goals.

Vicki and Emillie"Being part of an organization that emphasizes wellness means so much to me," says Vicki. "The LivingWell program has helped me improve my health by changing how I eat. Because of classes and challenges that have been offered at work I've moved to a diet with more whole, plant-based foods. As a result I used to be on medication for my blood pressure, but by eating differently I no longer need it."

For Emillie running was something she picked up well after her parents started the journey. She was overweight and decided she wanted to take control of her life. Vicki trained with Emillie and helped walk/run with her during her first marathon.

"It's a lot of small things," Emillie says about being part of a workforce with a culture of wellness. "From signs encouraging us to take the stairs and information about walking routes on campus there's a culture of being active. And challenges give us the opportunity to explore new and different aspects of our health. A fruit and veggie challenge helped me jump start improvements to the way I was eating. That's helped me lower my cholesterol by 22 points."

Nearly two years ago we spoke with Vicki and Emillie about running on our podcast. Listen below.