Monday, February 13, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, February 12, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

She was a newbie runner. He was an old hand at the sport. In fact, he was the team captain of the Roche Running Club. So it was not unexpected that she was introduced to him by a mutual friend.

She was somewhat in awe of him. He was just annoyed. No, not at the pretty woman in front of him. He was in the middle of a speed workout and as any runner can attest, he didn’t want any interruptions.

Susan had been running only three or four weeks when she was introduced to Will DeRoberts of Boonton at the Roche health center.

“This is Will and he’s been running a long time and if you ever have any questions he’s the one you should ask,” she was told.

A week after that introduction they met again as volunteers at a Roche health fair.

“I spent an hour and a half with him and I asked him a million questions about running,” said Susan.

A little over a year later, in November 2007, they were married. True to the theme of their life they ran in a 5K race in Mountain Lakes the day before the wedding. Will ran on the day of the nuptials also.

“Susan insisted that I go out and run four miles,” said Will. “I ran up and down the Boulevard.”

Will was in training for a marathon when they met, but Susan wasn’t into marathons yet. In fact, she said she hated them at first.

“I didn’t like it, but you know how it is, a couple of days later you say maybe I can do better at it, train a little harder,” she said. “So first it was a life list thing and I crossed it off my list, and then it turned into a lifestyle.”

Lifestyle indeed. Susan has now run in 34 marathons, 18 of them just last year. She plans to do 20 in 2012.

“I’m not very fast so I had to find my own thing,” explained Susan. “So I can run a lot and that’s what really got me into it.”
The impetus of the marathon madness is an organization called Marathon Maniacs. In order to belong to the group you must qualify as a maniac. The minimum requirement is to run three marathons in ninety days. Susan and Will first met members of the group at the North Olympics Discovery marathon that takes place on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. At each marathon members get together.

“At every marathon it is kind of like a reunion,” said Susan. “They have a race calendar on their website and they show who is going to be there. They have a dinner the night before and things after it.”

While Susan has gotten deep into marathoning Will passes on most of them. He competes in the USATF grand prix and won his M55 age division in 2011. Just this past week he ran in the Super Hero four mile race in Morristown where his 26:05 age graded at 76.93 % for sixth in that category.

Will is supportive of Susan and her marathoning. She said that she knows that not all of the locations are vacation spots but he’s been a good sport about supporting her. Although she would be happy if Will only meets her at the finish line he always finds her at various spots along the course as well as at the finish.

On a recent weekend Susan ran a marathon in Jackson Mississippi on Saturday and another marathon the next day in Mobile Alabama. Susan says that she is not fast, but she is certainly consistent. At the marathon in Jackson her finishing time was 4:11:25. The next day, her time was barely five minutes slower at 4:16:53. Her best time has been 3:50:53 that she ran at the Soldier Marathon in Columbus Georgia, wearing the name of a soldier who lost his life in Afghanistan.

One thing is for sure, Susan DeRoberts has far surpassed her first running goal. When Will is doing a slower paced recovery run and Susan is looking for more speed they can run together.

“I just wanted to be able to run with him,” she said. “That was my goal when we started dating.”

Now six years later Susan and Will DeRoberts will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a trip to Myrtle Beach for Susan’s 35th marathon. They are surely a running couple that keeps their love and the love of running alive.

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