Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Nicole Edwards, who lost 60 pounds thanks to running!

Here’s what she had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
I have been running for about four years and initially got into it to lose weight.  Currently I have lost over sixty pounds. While watching The Biggest Loser with my mom, I was inspired by the contestants who ran a marathon in one of the final episodes. I thought if they could do it, so could I. The next thing I new I was signed up for my first half marathon! (I was new to running and didn’t realize the Chicago Marathon sold out, or you had to qualify for Boston.) A few months later my grandfather passed away.  He was so proud of my weight loss and was online, nearly blind, checking my stats from my half marathon. I made a promise to him to run Chicago in his memory. I ended up running for The National Hospice Foundation as a charity runner and raised well over $2,000!  It was wonderful to give back to an organization that helped my grandpa at the end of his life. It also made me feel close to my grandpa even though he was gone.  Running truly is great therapy.
How did you achieve it?
Sadly, with all of my training I tore a tendon in my ankle, and after trying for months to heal, I ended up needing surgery. It was devastating. I was in a cast and boot for a few months, but have made a full recovery in the last year. My doctor told me I would not run another marathon after surgery, but I couldn’t accept that. I ran my second marathon on May 4th of this year. The injury also got me into cycling, and duathlons.  One day I want to transition to triathlons. Running Chicago and fundraising was my biggest accomplishment, but the most recent marathon (Wisconsin) felt really good to finish and know “I still had it.” The only way to get there for me was to train.  Lace up those running shoes even when you are tired or just don’t want to.
This year I am also running 13 half marathons. Cheesy yes, but it’s a great goal. 13.1 miles, 13 races, 2013… Currently I have completed 5 to date, all with Charity Miles.  This year I also did my first Tough Mudder, which was a great experience.  New challenges keep you going, and give you something to work towards.
What motivates you to make the world a better place?
I’m not sure there is one specific thing that motivates me to make the world a better place. I love running and I love charity. My motivation is just trying to make the world better for one person or animal at a time. If you do a lot of small things, they become big. I adopted a shelter cat, I love recycling, I volunteer at races, and recently began guide running for disabled athletes. Yes, Gene was my inspiration for that! I just try and make decisions each day that will have a positive impact on the world.
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
I stay healthy by running as much as I can. Signing up for races keeps my motivation up as well. Since Oct 2009 I’ve completed 31 races! I also go out biking, help friends get into running and sometimes I do 60 day insanity. I’d rather run than anything, it gives me time to think and I just feel free outside.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice is from my cousin who is an ultra runner, simply put he told me to put one foot in front of the other and enjoy the pain. When things get tough I think of that, as well as my grandpa, and those who can’t run. Then I just keep going.
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
It’s hard to pick one favorite thing about Charity Miles. I love that just running can earn money for charity. I love that I can pick different charities each time I head out the door, although somethimes it’s a tough decision. It’s a little extra motivation to do something good! And it’s free!

Who do you exercise for, and why?
I run for myself, to keep my sanity, but also for my grandpa and for Charity Miles. It’s generally the best part of my day. It is also a wonderful feeling knowing that small part of my day makes a difference for a charity.

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