Rebekah Gooding, 36, of Forks will compete in the 122nd Boston Marathon on April 16, 2018. Rebekah has been committed to maintaining optimum health and fitness since her teenage years attending high school in Delta Junction, Alaska. She started running races while attending college at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington, where she met her husband, Rick Gooding, also from Forks. After their graduation from Eastern, they moved to Forks where she works as a Financial Services Specialist at the Department of Social and Health Services and he is the varsity basketball coach at Forks High School.
After the birth of their daughter, Grace, Rebekah returned to running to “get back in shape.” The North Olympic Discovery Marathon, that takes place from Blyn to Port Angeles caught Rebekah’s eye and she began to train for months in advance,
“I’d run races before, but never a marathon and this looked like a fun thing to do,” said Gooding. Her first run resulted in a time of 3 hours and 43 minutes, yet at the time Rebekah didn’t think she’d be doing another marathon. It was tough and her ankle was bleeding from where the chip was attached to time the run.
“I was a mess, I was sore afterwards and running another marathon wasn’t anything I wanted to do again,” she said.
Rebekah started to run 13.1 mile half marathons, enjoying that time on the track and with times that were winning her races, plaques and other awards. Her confidence grew and in April 2017 she decided to run in the Revel Mt Charleston Run in Las Vegas, Nev. Her time of 3 hours and 34 minutes was enough to qualify her within her age and gender standards for the 2018 Boston Marathon.
Although achieving one’s qualifying standards doesn’t guarantee entry into the event, it simply provides the opportunity to submit for registration. Rebekah was optimistic and delighted when she learned her application had been accepted.
The Boston Marathon is held on Patriots Day, the third Monday of April each year, with the first race run in 1897. Members of the Boston Athletic Association, race organizers from the start, were inspired by the 1896 Olympics to put on a new running event as the marathon had debuted at those Olympic Games. Women were not officially allowed to register in the Boston Marathon until 1972 and now the field is nearly evenly split between men and women. Of the races 30,000 entrants 80 percent are time qualifiers and 20 percent charity runners.
Rebekah will be accompanied and cheered on by her mother and father, Janine and Bill Todd of Delta Junction, Alaska, her grandmother, Joyce Smith of Buffalo Junction, Va. and 10-year old daughter, Grace. Ms. Todd and Grace will participate in the 5k kick-off event on Saturday, April 14, on a 3.1 mile course through scenic neighborhoods and historical attractions, while Rebekah prepares mentally for the marathon two days later.
“I’m both very excited and very nervous,” said Rebekah as she beamed with the thought of checking another box on the list of goals set for herself.
Gooding is also very active in the community of Forks running the Girls Basketball for West End Youth League (WEYL), helps coach the Fast Pitch for WEYL and has taught Zumba classes at the Forks Athletic and Aquatic Club for the last six years. “Setting a goal – whether to qualify and run or whatever it is – takes a lot of work, but I know I’ve won by doing the best I can,” said Rebekah.
“Rebekah has blessed my life with many running trips, watching her exceed her goals, and as a woman of faith. I am so excited to watch her run at the Boston Marathon!” remarked Suzanne Davis, co-worker, friend and fellow runner.
Rebekah’s competitive spirit, the setting of benchmarks and goals for achievement drive her on the track and during the work day.
“Rebekah is very knowledgeable about the work she does each day,” said Meredith Parker, of the Forks and Neah Bay offices of DSHS, “and sets monthly goals for herself that she aims to achieve – and does!”
Rebekah has been with DSHS for the past five years. “Rebekah has proven to be a great addition to our DSHS family. She is an inspiration as she sets very high goals at not only work but in her personal life as well” remarked Terri Rasmussen, another fellow co-worker. Gooding’s co-workers Davis, Parker, Rasmussen, Mardell McGimpsey, Selina Spurlock and Shannon Dahlgren) all wish her well in Boston!