LISLE – As Lisle resident Margaret Skubis crossed the finish line of her latest 5K race, she did so with a daughter and granddaughter at her side.
This was the third year the 82-year-old ran in the Morton Arboretum's Fall Color 5K Run and Walk, held Sunday, Oct. 6 in Lisle. She finished in 63 minutes and 31 seconds.
“It is such a wonderful feeling to be running along with young people; they are telling me they hope they will still be running at my age,” Skubis said. “I inspire them and they inspire me.”
Skubis has completed six 5K races since 2010, and would like to continue competing in about two races a year, she said. Although she was satisfied with her race time this year, she would like to focus on improving her pace to the 40-minute range next year.
Skubis did not become interested in running until she was 67 years old.
When playing tennis at a gym, she decided to start running on the track, a decision that allowed her to start something new.
“I was biking to school at 12 years old and learned to swim when I was 11, so why not learn to run to do triathlons?” Skubis said.
From 1999 to 2010, Skubis completed about 16 triathlons. Her triathlon days were forced to an end in 2010 after two bike accidents about a month apart left her with concussions and a blood clot.
She heeded her doctor’s warning to stay away from her bike and instead turned to running.
Skubis said she began participating in 5Ks as an incentive to continue running throughout the year and to help others.
“I like to combine my love of running for a good cause,” she said. “It means more to me.”
To maintain her race physique, Skubis said she runs about 3 miles two to three times a week, year-round. Prior to each race, she eats half a PowerBar and drinks a glass of water.
Skubis is never alone at races, as the mother of five, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of three and wife of 56 years has family members who cheer from the sidelines, help with the race or in some cases, run with her.
Her husband, Dick Skubis, began watching her compete in triathlons and has not missed a race since.
Skubis’ daughter, Vivian Dooley, 54, and granddaughter, Jessica Kazda, 35, also ran in this year’s Fall Color 5K.
“It tickles her to death to see three generations [in one race], so it makes me happy,” Dooley said of her mother. “I think it’s great that she is still so healthy and I’m blessed I have her.”
Dooley said her mom has always been health-conscious and determined.
“Once she sets her mind at something, nothing deters her,” Dooley said. “It’s inspiring because she never gives up and it’s great to watch. She is a great role model for me.”
Kazda said her grandma is a motivated person who enjoys keeping busy and inspiring others.
“So many friends and family are in awe that she is [running] at age 82 and that she didn’t start until later in life,” Kazda said. “It just disproves the fact that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
In addition to running, swimming and biking, Skubis used to play tennis and downhill ski.
She is currently a member of the National Society of the Daughters of The American Revolution and a member of her church choir with her husband. She and her husband were also members of the Downers Grove Choral Society for 18 years. And on Oct. 1, after working 42 years as a registered nurse, Skubis retired.
Skubis said she will continue to run as long as she is physically and mentally able.
“I have no reason to want to stop running,” Skubis said.