Reader Athlete – Regina “Jeannie” Quintin

Age: 39

Residence: Essex
Family: Husband, Chris; daughters Ellie (9) and Kate (3)
Occupation: Stay at home mother
Primary sport: Running

It’s been quite the trajectory for Jeannie Quintin from an un-athletic childhood to qualifying for (and running) the Boston Marathon. Now running is so much a part of her life that it’s part of her e-mail address and she considers Vermont City Marathon day to be one of her two favorite days of the year.

VS: When did you start running?

JQ: I started running in 2002 because after I got married in 2000 I gained 25 pounds. I needed something to help me lose weight. At the time, I could barely run a quarter of a mile so my goal was simply to do 30 minutes on a treadmill. It took me a few months but I managed it and then I signed up for a 5K race that August. I kept looking behind me the entire time, praying that I wouldn’t be last. I finished in 27:58 and I was so excited that it was under a 9-minute mile so I signed up for another one that fall and ran a similar time.

VS: It’s a big jump from 5Ks to marathons, isn’t it?

JQ: After my second 5K I got a book called The Non-Runner’s Marathon Training Guide which said that if you could run three miles, you could run a marathon so I signed up for my first VCM. Running those 5Ks was something I was really proud of because it was totally mine; it wasn’t part of a team or a family but just me. Even my training was all by myself, reflecting and thinking about the commitment.

I ran the VCM in 2003 and I cried the last quarter mile because I was so proud of myself. I wasn’t an athlete in high school so this was something new. I ran it in 4:31 and I was hooked. Then we moved to Essex and I met some women from the neighborhood who also ran. I had never experienced running with others before and I loved it. We would get up early and run to train for the 2004 VCM. Now I love meeting new people for running and setting them up with other running partners. We have a great community of runners here.

VS: Have you run the VCM every year?

JQ: I ran it in 2004 but I skipped the following year because I had Ellie. I ran again in 2006 and I was hoping to qualify for Boston but that was the year it was 85 degrees so I didn’t make it, but it was still my first sub-4 hour mile. After that race I hired someone to write a training program for me so I could qualify for Boston. I did the NYC marathon that fall and I qualified then.

VS: So did you run Boston?

JQ: At first I kept putting it off. In 2007 I ran the VCM instead and then 2008 was the 15-year anniversary of VCM and I couldn’t miss that. It was my best year ever. I ran it in 3:19 and was third in my age group and 25th among all women. That was an amazing year for me and for VCM and I was so happy I decided not to run Boston. I finally went to Boston in 2009 and because I knew I was going to have another baby I also did the VCM that year but not competitively. That was one of the most fun years I’ve ever had because I did it casually. I met people on the bike path and ran with them and it was really fun.

VS: Did you keep running after the birth of your second daughter?

JQ: The year I had Kate I just did a three-mile leg for a relay team and since then I’ve had a bunch of injuries so in 2011 I did three miles again and in 2012 and 2013 I did a half marathon. This year I’m signed up for the full marathon again. I’m throwing myself out there. I have a goal of running Boston when I’m 40 so I’m really excited for this year.

VS: Why do you keep coming back to the VCM?

JQ: I just think this race is the best marathon. I’ve run in Boston, New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia but the community aspect of this race, the spectators and the organization is by far better than any of those. I really love the part through the neighborhoods because the people bring out their music and water hoses and oranges and bananas and cheer for people they don’t even know. That’s such an amazing part of the race.

If you asked any of my friends they’d tell you that my two favorite days of the year are the VCM and my birthday. I couldn’t imagine planning something on the Memorial Day weekend. It wouldn’t cross my mind. The VCM is scheduled on my calendar 364 days in advance. It’s such a class act.

VS:  What other sports do you do?

JQ: I’m really just a runner. I hadn’t skied in 13 years and did this year and it was fun. I hadn’t been skiing because I had been afraid of getting hurt and not being able to run. My husband golfs so I did that a little bit when we were dating but I’m very competitive and it takes a long time to be good at golf.

VS:  Do you run outdoors in winter?

JQ: I try to run outdoors as much as possible but with Kate it’s hard and this year we’ve had a lot of ice. I belong to The Sports and Fitness Edge and do track workouts twice a week but I get outside as much as possible. I try to run at least five days a week and if I don’t, I think a part of me is missing.

VS: Do you have any advice for prospective marathoners?

JQ: I never thought I could run this fast when I started but I have come to believe that so much of running is believing in yourself. When people ask me if I think they can do it I ask if they think they can. You can do anything you want if you work hard for it and believe in yourself. So much of it is mental.

Phyl Newbeck

Phyl Newbeck lives in Jericho with her partner Bryan and two cats. She is a skier, skater, cyclist, kayaker, and lover of virtually any sport which does not involve motors. She is the author of “Virginia Hasn’t Always Been for Lovers: Interracial Marriage Bans and the Case of Richard and Mildred Loving.”