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If a woman in her 40s can't run a quarter-mile lap around a track without stopping to walk, odds are she won't be running 5Ks and 10Ks by the time she's 60.
Connie Ciampanelli likes to defy the odds.
At 62 years old, Ciampanelli spends her weekdays working in a guidance office at a private high school in Providence, Rhode Island. Despite her limited athletic background, she's now an avid runner in her spare time.
With the help of the Couch-to-5K program, Ciampanelli has been able to conquer goals she never thought she could accomplish.
"I had never been active in my life, save a few half-hearted attempts at swimming and working out in a gym," she says. "I never ran before starting Couch-to-5K. What seemed impossible became achievable."
Her original plan was to run a 5K, cross it off her bucket list, and move on with her life.
"Little did I know what awaited me," she says.
Today, Ciampanelli has finished multiple 5Ks and a 10K. She has also written a book about her experiences, titled Journey to 10K: Adventures of an Older Novice Runner.
"It illustrates the successes and failures, good and bad runs, and discouragement and elation I experienced," she says. "I wrote it to encourage others embarking on similar journeys. I believe the reader can identify with the ups and downs of taking on a challenge."
Ciampanelli was chosen as October's Couch-to-5K Member of the Month for her inspiring story that proves it's never too late to start running.
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ACTIVE: What is your favorite part about the Couch-to-5K program?
CIAMPANELLI: "What I like best about the program is that the common sense approach is beautifully designed for someone who has never before attempted running. Each week, you gradually build on the previous week's work. This advice from the introduction is what convinced me that this was the program for me: 'Don't try to do more, even if you feel you can. If, on the other hand, you find the program too strenuous, just stretch it out.'"