Who Are You? 10

NEELY SPENCE GRACEY

Top American at Boston Marathon Debut 
and Elite Distance Runner

NeelyRuns.com

You could say Neely Spence Gracey was born with the fate to run the Boston Marathon. Gracey was born on Marathon Monday in 1990, and 26 years later she was the first American woman to finish the 120th Boston Marathon at 2:35:00.

Where did you grow up?

I was raised in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, but I spent summers in Boulder, Colorado, while my dad did altitude stints as a professional marathoner.

Tell us a little about your family?

My dad, Steve, was a pro athlete and retired when I was seven. He became the head coach at Shippensburg University, and has now been working there for 18 years. My mom, Kirsten, is a life long runner. I have identical twin sisters, Reynah and Margeaux, who are 22, and a little brother, Elias, who is 13. My husband Dillon and I have been married for 3 and a half years, we ran in college together, and he now helps coach me. We have a 15-month-old Vizsla puppy named Strider.

How long have you been running?

Since I was 13. Wow! I guess that is half my life.

What are you currently 
working towards?

I plan to spend the early summer rebuilding fitness after taking time off post Boston. I don’t have any set races yet, but I have a desire to conquer another marathon in the near future.

What’s your ideal holiday destination?

I really want to go to Hawaii and Alaska. I have been to 38 states so far, so these two are big ones that need checked off my list.

Your greatest “win” in life so far?

Marrying my husband. He is my biggest support, and I would not be able to live this amazing life we have without him.

The quote you live by?

The journey is just as important as 
the destination.

What quality you admire most 
in others?

When people handle adversity in a positive and constructive way. I always try to remember their effort and apply it to my life when applicable.

Favorite summer activity?

Jumping into the outdoor pool right after a run as well as being able to go up to the mountains for long runs.