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Story Archives: Former Gilbert resident participates in marathon
|Former Gilbert resident participates in marathon|
Three years ago, Rusty Potter, 43, of Monroe, was told his cholesterol was too high for a man his age. It was then he decided to make the changes that resulted in him completing a 26.2-mile New Orleans marathon earlier this month.
Potter grew up in Gilbert and graduated from Gilbert High School in 1984. He went on to earn a degree in marketing from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
"When I was 40, the doctor said I had high cholesterol," said Potter, a driver for UPS.
"Then I started doing things to lower my cholesterol."
Potter said he cut out the junk food and got off of the couch. He started eating healthier and began exercising, mainly running.
"Instead of drinking sodas I drink water and Gatorade," Potter said. "Instead of eating candy, I eat dried fruits and nuts. I love almonds."
Potter started off running around the Town and Country neighborhood where he lives and later running on a treadmill at a local gym.
In the weeks before the Feb. 1 Mardi Gras Marathon, Potter was getting up at 4 a.m. every day and heading to the gym for a workout and a brisk 12-mile run on the treadmill.
Potter said he'd always talked about running a marathon, but never did the training necessary to get into shape. As he began to run more miles, he worked up to running in local races and with the Ouachita Valley Road Runners.
"I participated in local races like the Run for the Cure," he said. "I even saw some of the people I run with at the race in New Orleans."
Potter completed the race in less than five hours and said he enjoyed running the streets of the French Quarter, "but the streets down there are narrow and Bourbon Street was wet. They hose it off every morning to get rid of the stuff from the night before."
Potter said he wanted his two daughters, Madison, 9, and Kennedy, 7, "to do this with me, so I had their names embroidered on my shirt."
Potter came home with a beautiful medal from the race, but also with a sense of determination to share his success with others.
"I want to encourage other people out there to eat healthy and exercise," he said. "I've been talking about it on my route and a couple told me they have started walking."
Potter's UPS route is in south Monroe.
He's not planning to run in another marathon right now, but Potter said he's "still eating right and in training right now."
"Healthy eating and goal setting, that's what I did," Potter said. "I'm 43 years old, and it wasn't too late for me."