Running, for Vivian Delaney and Lucien Boulet, is an addiction. A healthy one, but an addiction, nonetheless. One clue that they’re obsessed is that the more they indulge, the more they need. Feeding the addiction includes a frequent running schedule that has been bolstered by their participation in competitive long distance races.
While Delaney got her feet wet with shorter 5- and 10-kilometer runs before building up to the longer, more demanding races; Boulet jumped right in to the deep end of long distance running by entering half marathons right off the bat. He has added the shorter and longer competitions to his repertoire because his addiction demands that he indulge in it in as many ways as possible.
Running isn’t the only thing that these two have in common. Both hail from Brooklyn, however, they met and became friends in South Florida – connecting through mutual friends and their love of running.
Delaney, 54, has called Miami home since 1992. Although she has been running since childhood, long distance running is relatively new for her. She ran her first half marathon in 2012.
Prior to that, she’d run several 5k races until challenged by a friend to step it up. Delaney’s response was, “well, find me a race.”
Her friend found a 10k and Delaney has run seven so far. “After that, I started seeing different people doing half marathons,” especially women in Black Girls Run, a fitness group for women of color, she said.
“Once I did that first half marathon (13.1 miles), and I finished, it was like an out of body experience,” she said. That race was also evidence that she’d reached the point of no return with her addiction.
With 15 half-marathons under her belt, Delaney set her sights on a full marathon (26.2 miles); the first of which she completed three months ago in Phoenix. She finished in a respectable four hours and 39 seconds; “considered good for my age group.”
Three upcoming marathons will help to nurture her addiction; the New York Marathon in November, the Miami Marathon in January 2016 and, a month later, she will run in the New Orleans Rock and Roll.
“I just love to run. It’s something that helps me to relieve stress,” said Delaney, who works as an apparel merchandiser. Music used to be a must-have companion on her runs. While training for her first marathon, Delaney decided to train without it.
“As I’m running without the music, I loved it. I started noticing things that I’d never noticed before that have always been there,” she said of her usual route. “Also, I could just hear myself think.”
She knew that music would no longer be a part of her runs when she began to have conversations with God. “Just talking to God,” she shared.
Freedom is what keeps Boulet running. “Running is like therapy. I feel free. Something about running. It’s just me, my sneakers, my shorts and I’m gone. It gives me time to think,” said Boulet, a married father of three.
Boulet, 44, has been the owner of Naps barber shop in North Miami Beach for 16 years. The Brooklyn native runs several miles each day before heading into work. He’s always been active, and grew up with a natural affinity for the New York Marathon.
“Before I even knew what a marathon was, I knew the New York marathon,” he said. He has yet to run the famous race that lures runners from all over the world. The Brooklyn Half Marathon, however, is on his schedule.
He ran his first half marathon on a whim.
“I went online and, two days later there was a half marathon. I ran and I fell in love with it,” said Boulet, who has completed over 100 running events since then. Running his first full marathon allowed him to cross the feat off of his bucket list. Because he is “hard headed” and must experience things for himself, he ran the 26.2 miles without training for it.
“Then I trained for the next one, and my results were much better,” he said.
He has completed three marathons as well as numerous five and ten kilometer races; however, half marathons are his favorite.
“There’s more of a science behind it. You have to be patient, hold your pace,” he explained.
His love of running is so strong that he has also completed an ultra-marathon (50 miles); and for his 44th birthday on April 18th, he ran 15 miles, “My birthday gift to myself.”