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Grandma Of Three Went From Overweight To Ultrarunner

When word of our Cover Runner Contest went out over social media, we were inundated with more than 5,000 entries and nominations. Thank you to everyone for sharing your love of running and inspiring us in countless ways. It was not easy selecting eight finalists, but we think you’ll agree they prove there is no shortage of incredible women in our sport. Read on to learn about one of our amazing finalists.

CHARLOTTE YOUNG BOWENS
University research administrator
Ann Arbor, MI

“If loving to run is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”

This nearly 50-year-old grandmother of three, who loves the outdoors, rap and gospel music, completed a 50-mile race in September. Charlotte says her passion for running has turned her formerly obese body into a lean running machine.

Current goal: Charlotte aspires to run her first 100-mile race in 2016.

Three words that describe you: Serendipitous, determined and mystical

How has running changed your life? My story starts with walking on a treadmill for 2 minutes at 2 mph at the YMCA in Washington, D.C., back in 2000 when I weighed more than 300 pounds. The commitment to move on a daily basis with slow-yet-determined incremental increases in time, speed and/or distance turned into my capacity to run a half marathon within 6 months.

Proudest running accomplishment? The height of my running occurred in 2015 (weighing 170 pounds) when I decided to train for an ultra race—something I didn’t even know existed a year before. Crossing the finish line of the 50-mile Woodstock Run was one of the most amazing moments of my life.

Related: Your Cover Runner Contest Winner Revealed—Kiley Lyall

Team WR

Team WR represents the Women's Running staff and community behind the magazine and womensrunning.com. The team was created in July 2014 when Women's Running underwent its first re-design since it debuted in 2009. Collectively, Team WR has run everything, from marathon, to half, to novelty runs, to ultras, to 10K and 5K races, to obstacle events, to triathlons.