Someone You Should Know: Marathoner Hurdles Over Alcoholism on the Way to Elite Status

Good Day Dakota

There’s “putting one foot in front of the other.” And then there’s what April Lund is doing.

“About four years ago, I was an alcoholic. I was 90 pounds heavier. Forty-four-point-eight percent body fat,” she recalls. “I never thought that today I would be training for the Olympics.”

That’s no small feat for anyone — but even more impressive, considering this personal trainer from Bismarck is 36 years old. That’s about six years older than the average elite runner.

“When I won the Bismarck half-marathon in 2017 — it actually gives me goosebumps — my coach told me that I was gonna show people what it’s like to not talk about it, but to be about it,” Lund says.

April Lund, Bismarck, training for the Berlin Marathon, which she hopes to run fast enough to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials.

But April’s race to the top hasn’t been without some hurdles — the latest at the Prague Marathon, in a race she expected to send her to the Olympic trials. “I got pushed down at mile fifteen and ran the last eleven miles dragging a leg behind me,” she explains.

She’s powered through kidney failure, staph infection, and even the diagnosis of some autoimmune disorders. So how does she do it? With a little help from her friends.

“Priority number one is making people feel exactly how they should,” she says. “And that is: you are good enough just the way you are.”

The GYS Track Club — that stands for “Get You Some”.

“Priority number one is making people feel exactly how they should. And that is: you are good enough just the way you are.”

april lund, training for 2020 olympic trials

“She just has this way of pushing you to the point where you can keep getting more than you expect yourself to give,” says Brad Gulbranson, a member of the club. “It’s an incredible feeling.”

“I love it,” says Sherri Samuelson, another member. “I’ve never ever felt so confident about anything that I can do. I might be the last person still, but it’s like ‘Yes!’ It’s the best thing ever, you know?”

April Lund, Bismarck, founded the GYS Track Club a few years ago. She says she already has about 200 members.

The running club, only in its second full year, already has about 200 members. And for all of April’s amazing personal achievements, perhaps her greatest of all is the running renaissance she helped create in the Capital City.

“I want people to know they’re good enough just the way they are — but the reason health and fitness and nutrition are so important is quality of life,” she explains. “That way you can be here to walk your kids down the aisle. You can be at your grandkids’ wedding. I mean, isn’t that fantastic? Quality of life is really what it’s all about.”

April is still working her way back from that leg injury in Prague. But she hopes to be at full strength for the Berlin Marathon in September, where she will once again attempt to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials.

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