Personal trainer Patrice J. White looking to make history as marathon runner
Sometimes we see our trainers as superheroes, not realising that they have their own fitness missions to achieve. Patrice J. White’s journey started out with a burning desire to become healthy. Since then, the former mixologist traded in her spirited lifestyle for personal training, discovering an active aspect she never saw coming. Today, she shares the joys and trials in running over 20 international marathons, with high hopes that she can create history in that athletic arena.
White was never involved in athletics as a child, so to be 43 years old and run 21 marathons (and counting) is indeed a major accomplishment. “I never thought I would be able to do something like this,” White told Lifestyle.
Her introduction into the life-changing world of running is an interesting one. With little to no experience in this department, her story began where any typical gym instructor would: training another. “My love affair with marathons started in 2015, when a colleague of mine entered and got into the New York City Marathon. At the time, the farthest I had ever ran was 13 miles, which is half of a marathon. But in order to train him, I increased it to 15, 18 and 20 miles,” she explained.
He went on to run the course, making video check-ins along the way and White felt as though she, too, had been running that race. It was at that moment she promised herself she would fulfil her new-found dream of participating in an official marathon.
The trainer ignited her passion almost immediately, blazing the trail with an unofficial route in that same November of the NYC marathon. She ran from Manor Park, Constant Spring to Port Royal back to the Caribbean Wings roundabout which leads to the Norman Manley International Airport; a total of 26.2 miles.
From there, White went on to run an official half of a marathon overseas in Miami in January 2016. By that following March, she was in Washington, DC, running a full marathon. She hasn’t looked back since.
“My marathon running has become the best ‘run-cation’ for me. For example, the Singapore marathon, I’m not only able to run in the streets of the country, but I am afforded the opportunity to take in the culture as well. I’ve also done this in Berlin, Paris, Toronto, Cuba, Barbados and Chicago in the United States. I recently ran in London and I’m looking towards running in Tokyo come March 2023,” she shared.
Admitting that this activity fuses her love for running and travelling, she can’t help but have a real love for the world major marathon series. Visiting places that many dream of going to is one thing, but that energy and crowd support from spectators takes the experience to a whole new level. Trained or not, White says that you’re going to be left with no choice but to run with your heart because the audience is actually running the races with you. A world major marathons series consists of six marathons, and among them, she already has a toss up of favourites between the NYC and London marathons.
“The six world majors are London, New York, Berlin, Tokyo, Boston and Chicago. I really loved London; seeing the historical site was amazing and the crowd was there with you running from mile one to mile 26.2, giving you anything you wanted, be it energy drinks and water. I only ranked London higher than New York because it starts on Staten Island and they have to close the bridge, we have to get there early and wait in the cold to run hours later. That discomfort takes away from the experience. I hope to be in London in April,” White reveals.
But making these strides wasn’t always a bed of roses. Thorns presented themselves in the form of inclement weather, which threatened to jeopardise competitive standards and running records. “Me nah go hide and talk, some of these marathons have been rough. In some cases, we were running risks, based on temperatures. Take the marathon in Washington, DC, for instance, suggestions by the organisers were made to downgrade, due to the weather conditions. But I decided to complete the full run. I did that marathon crying from beginning to end,” she said, adding that the feeling of accomplishment in the end made it all worth it.
As a marathoner, she hopes to complete the world major series. She is going for medal number five, then she will be on to Boston. There has only been one Jamaican, a male, who has completed the series and White intends to go down in history as the first female Jamaican to achieve this incredible six-major feat. The trainer also has big plans to embark on a seven continent marathon: running one marathon in each continent for seven days. But it doesn’t stop there: she also sees becoming a triathlete and a bodybuilder in her fitness future.