“A good painting to me has always been like a friend.

It keeps me company, comforts and inspires.”

Hedy Lamarr, actress


Any book you read on the topic of success will encourage you to find a good role model. I would be willing to bet I’m the only marathon runner to choose Grandma Moses for the job.

Just in case you don’t know, let me explain what the word marathon means. For a runner like myself the word marathon means left foot, right foot, a whole bunch of times until you’ve gone 26.2 miles. I ran my first marathon race in 1986 finishing in 5 hours. In the years that followed, I managed to cross the finish line in less than 4 hours on four different occasions. My personal best is 3 hours and 37 minutes. Now If you hang out with serious runners long enough, you will hear this question.

“Have you run the Boston Marathon?”

My answer has always been no. But that is going to change very soon. And if you’re waiting for the punch line to a joke, there is none. I’m serious.

The Boston Marathon is the Holy Grail of running. It is the world’s oldest annual marathon. They have been in business since 1897. It started with just 15 runners. Now there are 30,000. And to become part of that group you have to qualify at another marathon race and finish it in a certain time. For my age group, I need to clock in under 4 hours and 10 minutes. That’s a 9 minute and 30 second mile pace.

Now about Grandma Moses and how she came to be one of my running coaches. At the age of 76, when arthritis made it impossible to embroider, she picked up a paint brush. When the brush became too painful to hold in one hand, she would hold it with the other. With no formal training Grandma Moses completed over 1500 paintings. Some of them selling for as much as $10,000.00.

And thanks to President Truman, one of them hangs in The White House. She kept painting until her death at age 101.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

When you talk about late bloomers, a person who does not discover their gift or talent until late in life, Grandma Moses is at the top of the list.

But I’m a runner and not a painter you say. Yes and no. True, I don’t run with a brush and easel in my hands. But I do run with an imagination. And that is where I do my painting. I see myself running with the rhythm of a locomotive, the grace of a ballet dancer, and the glide of an eagle as I cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Grandma Moses was a late bloomer and so am I.

You can be too.

See you at the finish line.