Autumn Coultas bested previous half marathon time, led team of runners in competition

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Autumn Coultas, 31, competed in her fourth Shamrock Run and bested her previous half marathon personal record. Molalla native Autumn Coultas is a competitor. A two time Shamrock Run half-marathon runner, four time Run participant, and general high mileage athlete, Coultas has fallen in love with the sport of running.

Coultas, 31, recently competed in the Shamrock Run half marathon on March 18, and bested her previous time of two hours, 12 minutes by finishing the 13.1 miles in one hour, 55 minutes. Not only was it event specific, but it was also her fastest half marathon period.

"It was awesome, I had a blast last year and this year," Coultas said. "The half marathon is definitely a tush kicker for sure going up Terwilliger Hill, but it was a great experience this year."

Apart from besting her previous race time, Coultas was also a team captain for the first time this year. Part of Coultas's duties for her team was distributing t-shirts and race bibs to the people participating on her team. While it was charitable thing to do for the other runners, Coultas had personal motives for taking on the leadership responsibilities.

"It was more convenient for me because I'm not a huge fan of going downtown even though I race downtown," Coultas said. "It's just more convenient having all the bibs mailed to me, and everyone can get their bibs at their own convenience. It was just way easier that it had been in the past years."

Coultas trains regularly, between four and five days a week and switching up the distances and styles of running. Some days are for longer distances, some days are dedicated to sprints. All of this will pay off down the road, not only for the races she hopes to run in, but also in terms of besting her times.

"I'm training for two full marathons this summer," Coultas said. "I'm looking to Boston qualify, but I'm not as competitive in the sense I'm looking to place. I definitely enjoy running, and it's something I do on a regular basis. I'm always trying to one up myself."

To understand the dedication Coultas has, you have to look at the mindset she carries with her in her runs. It is not just a hobby, it is something greater.

"It's actually just a passion of mine. It's one of the first things I think about when I wake up in the morning. After a run, I feel really, really good about myself. No matter it was a great run, a hard run, I ran through a downpour, I had bad headwinds, or I didn't finish the mileage I wanted to finish. No matter what my run was like, I still feel better about myself having done that run. I feel like I accomplished something for the day."

Coultas is eyeing the next Shamrock Run a year away. After all, it is her favorite race in the Portland area, and one of the very first that she participated in. Coultas also has words of encouragement for people who are on the fence about pursuing the running game.

"I would say never get discouraged," Coultas said. "You're going to have bad runs, you're going to have great runs, always just get out there and run. Don't put too much pressure on yourself; any run is a good run. That's what I have to think about. I've gone through sicknesses and injuries, but once you get back out there it's totally wonderful again. I don't know how to describe it, running is my thing and I love it."

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