BOONE — A local retiree’s dream of running a race in each of the 50 states came true this June in Alaska.
Susie Pline wanted an escape from her job sending emails, supervising teams of employees and writing training manuals in New York, so she started running.
Avid outdoorsmen, Pline and her husband, Patrick, moved to Boone from Manhattan in 2018 to do what they loved the most: being outdoors. The two have thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and most of the Continental Divide. Together, they cross-country ski, kayak and ride bikes. They have even visited all 63 national parks.
But Pline runs alone.
“Sometimes my husband will just drop me off on the road and I’ll say ‘I’ll meet you at so and so’ and I’ll run,” Pline said.
Pline discovered her love for the sport, running in Central Park, and eventually she graduated to running marathons. Pline completed the New York City Marathon, the largest marathon in the world, three times.
“What’s not to love?” Pline said.
Running is a remedy for a cloudy mind or any creative block, Pline said, and a great way to behold the beauty of the United States.
In her series of children’s books, “Visit the National Parks with Grandma Susie and Grandpa Pat,” children can follow Pline and her hubsand on scenic adventures in several national parks, beginning with Acadia National Park in Maine.
Her second book takes readers through the Great Smoky Mountains, drawing on Pline’s experience seeing the natural wildlife
Each race is also an opportunity to support a good cause. Any race that encourages children to run or get outdoors is a race for Pline, she said. She has run every type of race, from half-marathons to 10ks.
Within two years of setting her goal, Pline had finished races in 48 different states. Last on her list were Hawaii and Alaska.
“You can’t really beat running along the beach and seeing the ocean,” Pline said, recalling her time in Hawaii. Pline participated in Run for Hope in Hawaii in 2019. The race concluded with a ceremony, wherein racers set orchids afloat in the ocean in honor of cancer victims. It was beautiful, Pline said.
Pline was prepared to run in Alaska in 2019, but COVID-19 hit, setting her back by one year.
“I was disappointed, of course, but you understand that everyone is going through the same thing as you are and there’s not much you can do about it,” she said.
Pline continued to sign up for virtual races in the meantime. She would register for them online and run on the greenway.
When June 2021 rolled around, Pline flew to Alaska to race in Run for the River, a 5K along the Kenai River. Pline showed up early for the race, which began at 9am, and was greeted by press. Pline’s friends flew in from Colorado to help her celebrate.
Now that Pline has finished a race in every US state, she has set a new goal: writing a book about each of the nation’s state parks. She will always return to her favorite running spots in the area, but she has not intention of taking her hobby abroad.
“Traveling internationally is great, but we have such beauty right here; it’s a waste to not get out there and experience it.”