It’s never too late to start a new exercise routine, but most people don’t plan to become an Olympic athlete in their 30s!
Mieke Gorissen has done just that, and now she’s inspiring millions with her story. A math and physics teacher from Diepenbeek, Belgium, the 38-year-old has always loved to read, knit, and go for short runs.
Back in 2018 when she was 35, Mieke decided to take her running game to the next level. She hired a trainer to improve her form and technique, and before she knew it, she was running faster and farther than ever before.
Over the next three years, Mieke increased her speed and stamina, competing in just two marathons before qualifying for the ultimate race at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Running in Tokyo proved to be brutal for many athletes. Fifteen of her competitors in the women’s marathon dropped out before they even reached the finish line, but Mieke kept on truckin’!
At the end of the race, Mieke was just happy to have finished. She only started running competitively a few years ago, and she was older than many of her peers. So when an interviewer told her that she’d finished 28th in the race, she couldn’t believe it.
“No. That’s not possible,” she cried. That’s when it all must have hit her because Mieke burst into tears of sheer joy!
“I was already happy to finish the race,” she said. “I do think I have reached my goal and that I can be happy.”
Mieke said she ramped up her running at the perfect time in her life — and not just because she now ranks in the top 30 female marathon runners in the entire world!
“If I started running in my teens, it wouldn’t have been good for me,” she explained. “I wasn’t really happy then, I would have been too hard on myself, and I would have lost myself in it in a way that wasn’t healthy. It came at exactly the right time.”
This teacher-turned-Olympic star is such an inspiration for us all. You never know when you’ll find what you love; after all, there’s no time limit on talent and hard work!
Watch Mieke’s emotional reaction to hearing the race results in the video below, and be sure to share this incredible story.
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