From Sprinter to Marathon Runner

Bonnie Pope Nurtures a Love for Running in the Community

Bonnie Pope’s inspiring marathon journey began in middle school with a love for sprinting. She gradually increased distance, as she ran cross-country in high school and then joined a running club while studying biology and Spanish at UT Austin. After facing pacing challenges in her first marathon, valuable lessons shaped her long-distance running career.

Joining the Austin-based running group Gilbert’s Gazelles significantly boosted her performance. Bonnie ran the iconic Boston Marathon in 2021 and 2022, followed by the New York Marathon in 2023, conquering her third major world marathon. The Austin Marathon remains her favorite with its live music, challenging course and hometown feel. Bonnie has been a pacer for the Austin Marathon for three years.  

Balancing an intense training schedule with family commitments and her work as a nurse practitioner, Bonnie opts for early morning runs with groups like Team Rogue. “My husband, two children and dad are my biggest supporters and inspire me to live a healthy lifestyle,” she says. 

Race nutrition, including a high-carb breakfast and strategic gel consumption, is pivotal. For aspiring marathoners, Bonnie recommends joining a running group and getting fitted for the right shoes. She emphasizes a structured training approach and says recovery—including hydration, healthy eating and ample sleep—is vital.

Sharing her love of running with the next generation inspired Bonnie to start a weekly running club at Belterra’s Rooster Springs Elementary School where she chairs the PTA’s healthy lifestyle committee. 

Bonnie offers this advice to aspiring runners: “It’s not just the destination; it’s about the training, the miles and the friends you meet along the way.” 

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