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Women Who Move: Susie Crossland-Dwyer

SUSIE CROSSLAND-DWYER

CINCINNATI, OHIO
FITNESS STUDIO OWNER
AGE: 31

I grew up on the soccer field. I played from the time I was 5 years old up through high school. However, when I was a sophomore, I didn’t make the team. Being cut was disappointing at first, but it ended up being a positive turning point in my life. I joined the cross-country team that year instead, and found I liked it even more than soccer! I ran all through high school and continued running after I graduated.

In 2001, I ran my first marathon in Chicago. It was just after 9/11, so patriotic and personal emotions were at an all-time high. I saw several people running the race carrying full-sized American flags, pole and all. One section in the beginning of the race looped under a long overpass. Everyone was cheering and chanting “U-S-A,” creating a powerful echo in the tunnel. This moment carried me through the next 21 miles. Crossing the finish line confirmed that marathons would be a big part of my life from this point forward.

It was after finishing this race that I realized even though I’m not exceptionally fast, I am a true athlete. One of my personal and professional goals is to help others realize that anyone can be an athlete. I now own and operate a boutique fitness studio that incorporates spinning, personal training and Pilates. I’ve found mixing these workouts into a running routine can make an amazing difference in terms of speed, injury prevention and weight loss.

I continue to challenge myself through endurance competitions. The hardest race I’ve ever run has to be the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. The hills were brutal, but I toughed it out. It helped that my husband and father were at the race. Knowing that I would see their faces at the end kept me going. After I crossed the finish line, I started crying. I was so happy that it was over. My dad probably thinks I’m crazy because about a month later I told him I was going to run a 50-mile ultra-marathon. I have challenged my friends and family to come in after mile 27 and pace me. I’m waiting to see who will be up for the task!