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Meredith Caudill - Most Improved Female 2018

Meredith began running—really running—back in 2013. Peoria has a training program similar to Abe’s Army for the Steamboat 4 miler, and she signed up with her son and daughter. She kept on running and says her former high school coach (shot put and discus) gets tickled every time he sees she signed up for another race. She got put in for a few running events in track when they were short on team members, but claims she was a “hot mess” when it came to running and even lost a shoe during a race. Fast forward to November 2016, when Meredith moved to Springfield from Pekin. It was very difficult to leave her close group of friends she made since starting running. So when she moved, she thought the local running club would be a great way to meet new people and keep her accountable.

The club may have needed Meredith just as much as she needed the club. She’s already jumped in to volunteer at many races, as a Halfwits helper, an Abe’s Army group leader in 2018, and an Abe’s Army 5K coordinator in 2019. While we love a good volunteer, it has been Meredith’s great sense of humor and desire to be a cheerleader for others that has endeared her to many other runners in such a short amount of time.

Fast forward again to 2018, and Meredith made some great improvements in her running. When asked what the key difference was last year, she attributes it to a friend luring her into registering for a marathon with a great registration discount. She figured she would have nearly a year to process what she had just done. While the extra training miles getting ready for the marathon surely played a large role, Meredith attributes her greatest successes to working with a trainer and attending the Wednesday night speed work sessions with Bill Owens.

Meredith rocked that marathon, but surprisingly it was lower down on the list about what was special for her in 2018. She shared that she is a St. Jude runner and those races mean the most for her. Since 2016, Meredith has done the East Peoria St. Jude Relay, and in 2019 plans to do the Memphis to Peoria relay. “St. Jude does such amazing work in both research and in the services they provide to the children and families.”

Whether or not she is “one and done” when it comes to the marathon distance, Meredith doesn’t feel like she needs to do it again since there’s so much time that needs to be committed to when training for a marathon. She says while her husband Chuck is her greatest cheerleader, “he doesn’t make a great running widow. Life is too short to not spend it with my best friend.” She’s happy to report Chuck has signed up to volunteer for some races—which may or may not be part of an evil plan...

“I am so humbled to be recognized for my efforts. We moved down here as empty nesters and the friends I have made through running are so much more—they are family!”

We feel the same, Meredith and glad you decided to join the family!

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