2007 Bradley Award: Sara Nelson

Sara A. Nelson receives Margaret Bradley Award

April 11, 2007

Sara Nelson

Sara Nelson lived in Boston and briefly ran workouts with the Greater Boston Track Club last August but did not represent the club in races. Her husband is in the Coast Guard so they have to move every three years. Since they move around the country they are inclined to see a good bit of it on the way. So on the way from Boston to a Great Lakes station in Chicago she stopped at the Grand Canyon. She said, “I’ll never forget seeing the sign at the trail head titled, “Can you run a marathon?” Intrigued, I went over to the sign, and was surprised to see a picture of a young girl running with a GBTC singlet. It was very strange and ironic to read about a fellow GBTC teammate while [I was] across the country visiting a national park. I read her story in awe. I felt very sad, but quickly realized how powerful the canyon and mother nature were. When I returned to Boston, I learned a little more about Margaret and her presence on the GBTC. Remembering Tom’s recommendation of Universal Sole, I moved to Chicago in early November. Upon arriving in Chicago, one of my top priorities was to hook up with a running group. I joined Universal Sole right away. About a month later, I asked a member of the team about being sister clubs to GBTC and was shocked to find out that Margaret had also run for Universal Sole. It wasn’t until that point that I finally knew her entire story. Since then I have learned about her passion for running and her drive to succeed.”

Nelson started running at age 10. She ran in high school and later at Springfield College in MA. She ran 10,000 meters in 1999 in 37:23 to qualify for the Division III nationals. She has run a the Boston Marathon in 3:26 in 2006. This year will mark her third Boston Marathon and fourth marathon.

Currently, she is the fitness supervisor at Loyola Center for Health & Fitness on the campus of Loyola University Medical Center. She supervises a team of seven fitness specialists and five personal trainers and also does some part time personal training at the Center. She received a Magis Star from Loyola for saving a members life during a cardiac emergency last month. Nelson has accepted a spot on a medical integration task force that is being assembled nation-wide. This panel of experts will help Loyola Center for Health & Fitness’s goal of becoming the industry leader in Medical Integration.

This past marathon training season was one of the most difficult ones for Nelson. She she could train in any weather growing up in NY and living in New England, but her training suffered from the Chicago winter. She trained in the bitter cold, biting winds, and through the snow. She found it a mental and physical challenge. Her goal for Boston is to run faster than last year’s 3:29. ” Next week, I aspire to run with the same dedication and strength as Margaret Bradley. I am honored to be a part of keeping her spirit alive,” Nelson said.

The Margaret Bradley award is given yearly to a woman runner from Chicago’s Universal Sole Running Club to race in the Boston Marathon who exemplifies the qualities that characterized the late Margaret L. Bradley. The award is funded by an endowment managed by the Greater Boston Track Club. A reciprocal award is given in the fall to a woman from the GBTC to race the Chicago Marathon.