Amarillo Woman Celebrates Life by Running Across the United States


People run for different reasons. Maybe it’s competitive, maybe it’s to get in better shape or maybe they just find it cathartic. An Amarillo woman is running in celebration of life — a journey that’s taken her across the country.

Her name is Dallas Paetzold and she celebrated her 50th birthday, last year. It’s a significant age for anyone, but especially in her family.

“My family dies young,” Paetzold said. “So, my dad and my sister were both diagnosed with cancer at 50 and I knew that I had borrowed time, possibly, if I had those genes.”

This is exactly why she chose to celebrate her 50th year of life being extra active.

“I wanted to know that I had done everything possible on my part to just be healthy and also to just enjoy the day that I have,” she said. “So my motto has been ‘today, I can run.’ And if I can run today, then I’m going to.”

Paetzold could run. So, she did.

“I have been blessed to travel, literally, all over the world,” she said. “But I hadn’t seen all the states in my own country. I had never been to the Great Lakes, so Lake Michigan was fabulous. Everybody should go there. Iowa and the Midwest were phenomenally beautiful which was also a surprise to me. Of course, Alaska and Hawaii — who gets to visit both of those in the same year?”

And like with any great adventure, there’s a lesson to be learned.

“You just can’t do life alone,” Paetzold said.

Luckily for her, she doesn’t have to.

“For us, it’s sharing each other’s lives and praying for each other on this path of life,” Tina Sauer, Paetzold’s friend, said.

Sauer is also a member of Paetzold’s running group. The group calls itself “Run-a-Latte” because, after each run, members enjoy coffee together. When Dallas joined the group, the name changed to “Today I Can Run-a-Latte.”

“So, that’s what she’s added to our group,” Sauer said. “She can talk the whole time she runs. We’re doing half and I’m going, ‘Seriously, I can’t talk; I can’t breathe.’ But she can talk and she makes the time go by faster.”

“Life is short and so I just want to make the most out of today,” Paetzold said.

Paetzold told us she ran in all 50 states in 50 weeks and didn’t once get sick or injured.

Though her motto is “today, I can run,” she says the word “run” can be substituted with just about anything. You just have to find your own inspiration. If you need a little help finding that, Paetzold has started her own blog. To check it out, click here.


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