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CobbtoberRun 2021 - Get to Know the Runners - Linda

Linda Fortaleza finish

Last year, Steve Scott, a Service Technician for Cobb Technologies, and veteran of the World Marathon Challenge, ran 168 miles from Danville, Virginia, to Cobb’s headquarters in Glenn Allen, Virginia to raise money for Cobb’s charitable arm, Imprint.

This year, four other ultra-runners are joining Steve for a 350-mile relay race across Virginia, ending at Cobbtoberfest 2021. In this interview, we talk to Linda Carrier about the World Marathon Challenge, her history as a runner, and this year’s upcoming run.

To learn more about Cobbtoberfest 2021, visit Imprint’s event page.

How did you get started with running?

I started running as a young kid. I have six brothers and sisters, and there are five of us within five years and I'm the second oldest. I have always had a lot of energy and as a result, I used to drive my mom nuts. She was smart, she’d send me out running around the block to burn all that energy.

I did that for years. After a while, the neighbor kids would put lawn chairs out for me to hop over or they would time me as I came around the block. It was always a game. I never joined a running group as a kid in school, in junior high, high school or even college. I always ran for fun. This fun has allowed me to complete 66 marathons, 55 half marathons and a couple ultra-marathons to date.

So how did that turn into you wearing a world marathon challenge t-shirt?

I started a job in Seattle and I met up with other runners and we would do morning runs. We decided to run a half marathon. I remember finishing that first half and my husband looked at me and said “Do you think you could have done that distance again?” And I said, “Yeah.”

Within the next 18 months, I ran my first marathon; Honolulu Marathon. I was hooked. I joined some social media sites and started following various running group. It was here that I started discovering things like the World Marathon Majors, that I completed in 2015, the World Marathon Challenge and all kind of other “extreme” running events.  

In 2015, I saw on Twitter that the World Marathon Challenge was happening for the first time, and I thought, “These people are crazy.” I remember everyday talking with my husband about where these people were running and what they were experiencing.

I noticed in 2016 another group was running the World Marathon Challenge and my husband, Eric, asked “Do you want to do that?” Who wouldn’t? I tend to always push myself to see what I can do and what my body can do. I’m a Type 1 Diabetic so whatever I do, I need to make sure my body can handle it. The body is strong.

Do you consider yourself a competitive person?

I don't believe I compete with others but I do always want to improve on my own results. Once of the reasons I love running is I have the data, once I complete a race, I then know what I need to improve on.

Was seeing multiple parts of the world a big draw for you?

I am a big traveler. I have been to all the continents except for Antarctica. My husband and I do a lot of traveling. He traveled a lot for work so we saw a lot of the world that way. We are also golfers, so we do a lot of traveling for golf.

What intrigued me about this race was I wanted to see how my body responded by flying, getting off the plane and running, then back onto a plane and flying to the next continent and just repeating that throughout the race. You could be running at 2:00 a.m. or 8:00 p.m., it didn’t matter. Whenever you landed on that continent, is when you ran.

The other challenge I wanted to experience was the drastic weather changes between the continents. If you think about it, most marathons are run at 7:00 a.m. and even if you decided to do back-to-back marathons, you had a good night’s sleep in a bed, eating normal foods at normal times before you began your next marathon. That isn’t the case during the World Marathon Challenge. You are sleeping on a plane, washing up on a plane, stretching on a plane, eating foods that you might not normally eat, etc. I wanted to see how my body would react to all of that, especially since I am a Type 1 Diabetic. I was lucky to be sponsored by Medtronic in 2020. This was my second time running the World Marathon Challenge and Medtronic agreed to sponsor me to showcase that Type 1 Diabetics can do amazing things.  

One concern for me, in particular, was that as a Type 1 Diabetic I wear a Medtronic 670G insulin pump that helps me control my diabetes. I would be going from one extreme temperature to another; Antarctica at 30 degrees below zero to Cape Town South Africa at 95 degrees, all within 24 hours. Medtronic gave me a secondary travel pump just in case I had issues but I never needed it. Great technology!

So, for me, it wasn’t really about seeing the various parts of the world as it was to push myself to the limits to see how my body and mind would respond.

As a type 1 diabetic, were there extra steps that you had to take to ensure you were healthy?

I will admit that I am not your typical marathoner. I love my hot dogs, Cheetos and a beer. When I had decided to run the World Marathon Challenge, I hired a coach. She supplemented my horrible eating habits with Infinit which is a powdered drink that I drank during my runs. It helped keep my blood sugars level. The other thing she recommended was a mixture of carbohydrates and protein, which I drank 30 minutes after my long runs, that not only helped my muscles recover but also helped keep my blood sugars level 24 hours after my runs.

I’m glad you found something that works for you.

It was important that I trained using various eating methodologies and/or different products. It gave me the opportunity to find what would work for me. My husband was worried that I’d be on this race, across the world, and have issues. It was critical that I found something that worked with all of the elements I would have to contend with.

So how did you get roped into running across the state of Virginia?

It was Steve. When you do these world marathon challenges you become like a family in a short period of time, because you are all supporting each other. If someone is hurt or needs something, no one hesitates to give them what they need. We were sharing our “torture tools” (how Linda refers to rollers), our food, our clothing, whatever anyone needed, we shared. It was amazing how we all came together to support each other. We became a family. So, when Steve is reaching out and asking if you want to help him raise money for a great organization, I couldn’t say No. I like these multi-day runs cause it’s very similar to the World Marathon Challenge. Every person running supports the other runners. I’m up for that!

Have you changed any of your training for the upcoming run?

I have not and one of the reasons is I tore my hamstring last December. It was my first real injury. It was new to me and I’ve been running every day since about 1998. I am lucky that I’ve never been injured, before now.

I started running again, after being off for almost 7 months. I’ve been working on increasing my endurance again and ensuring I am doing the required stretches to ensure I don’t re-injure that hamstring. I definitely do not want to go through that again. As a result, I have been doing what I can and the team knows that I will put in the miles I can.

What are you most excited about for this upcoming run and what are you most worried about for the run?

I'm really looking forward to getting back together with some of the people from the world marathon challenge. We really became close during that event so I’m happy to be reuniting with some of the runner. I am also really looking forward to seeing more of Virginia via running through the streets. No better way to really see a city/state than running through it.

The only thing I am worried about is re-injuring my hamstring. I don’t think that will happen as long as I am diligent in doing my stretches etc.

I’m also very excited to be running for a cause. If we can raise money to help the children in this community, why wouldn’t we do it? I’m all in. These kids are our future.

Noah Maphis
Noah Maphis
I’m the Director of Community Outreach and Corporate Events and am also the Director of Cobb’s 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, Imprint. I’ve been involved in nonprofit work since 2017, and have worked on both causes local to Virginia, and across the world, including Costa Rica, and Latvia. In my free time, I like being outside, hanging with my friends and family, and watching Beyoncé music videos.

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