Tag Archives: exercise

Badass Runner Profile: Mari Merchant

11652053_10206378365954784_1607116043_nName: Mari Merchant

Home State: South Dakota

Website / FB page / Etc. where people can keep up with your running:



BAR: When  did you start running?  Why?

MM: In January 2013 I decided I needed to do something about my weight. I was closing in on weighing nearly 400 pounds. I started by walking 20 minutes every day. As the weight came off it got easier and I went farther and faster. I don’t remember exactly when my walk turned into a run but it sure did! Since that time I’ve lost 175 pounds.


BAR: Why do you run now? What motivates you?

MM: I still continue to run to help with weight loss as I’ve got about 20 more pounds I’d like to lose. However, I mostly run because I enjoy it. I almost always run solo as it gives me time to myself to clear my mind. It always makes me feel better and I have so much more energy throughout the day when I run in the morning.

Longest race: Half Marathon

Hardest course: Med City Half Marathon. Rochester, MN. This was not only my first half but the first 9 miles were rolling country hills that had not been in any disclaimers I had read!


Favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it): Deadwood-Mickelson Half Marathon. It’s a trail race that runs through absolute beauty! We ran along flowing creeks, over old bridges, through rolling countryside with mountains off in the distance.

BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?

MM: Just for my normal every day morning run I like 5-6 miles. However, for races I prefer the half marathon because it takes some time and effort. It’s not a quick race done in less than 30 minutes but it also doesn’t have me running 5+ hours.

PR: 5k: 27:26 / 10k: 56:12 / half: 2:14:25


BAR: You almost never seem to miss a day of running… do you have any advice / tips / stories about the difficulties of finding and planning around that?  How supportive is your family?

MM: For me, it’s easy. I make my health a priority and running is a part of that. I wake up earlier than the rest of my family and go out in the dark to get a run in. During the frigid South Dakota Winters I hit the treadmill at the gym. I used to make all sorts of excuses for why I couldn’t make time to exercise but one day someone said to me something along the lines of how I can talk about all these different TV shows I watch but couldn’t make time for working out. That comment smacked me awake! I gave up watching TV about 2 years ago and ever since I’ve had no excuses!

My family is very supportive. My husband gets the kids up and ready for school (when it’s in session) and he makes dinner several times per week because I’m usually working out right after work. My family comes to almost all of my races to cheer me on. During training runs my 11 year old son will ride his bike along with me (he has asthma so cannot run) and my teenage daughter has even signed up to training for a half marathon with me this coming September!


BAR: Do you belong to any running groups, other than Team Badass?

MM: I vaguely remember the facebook conversation that started Team Badass. I do believe I was telling Sherri Morgan just how #badass one of her pictures were right around the time we needed team names and somehow Team Badass was born. I don’t think a single one of us really knew each other in person but we all had our passion for running in common. Plus…. we were all #badass!

I joined the Sioux Falls Running Club last year but their runs are so far away from where I live that I never really had a chance to run with the group. This year I didn’t renew my membership because of this. Honestly, I enjoy running solo most of the time anyways!


BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?

MM: This year my big goal is to complete Ragnar Great River in August! I also hope to complete the Sioux Falls Half Marathon with my teenage daughter at my side!

I don’t have specific plans for the future but I do know that I want branch out and do more challenging runs as well as trail runs! Spartan looks like a blast and I’ve been eyeing the Yellowstone Half Marathon.

BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes?  Why?

MM: I have like 9 pairs of shoes. For outdoor running I switch between my Brooks Glycerin, Saucony Triumph and Asics Gel Nimbus.  On the treadmill I like my Brooks Pureflow and Saucony Kinvara.  I have others but these are my top favs. I still haven’t dug into looking for trail shoes but plan to in the near future as I rather enjoy trail running and recently found an awesome trail just 2 miles from my home!


BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential?  Do you recommend one over another?  Are there brands / items you’d like to try?

MM: Gotta have headbands! I prefer BondiBands with the 4” width as I have lots of long hair that gets out of control. I also really enjoy the arm band they make to hold my phone when I run with music. Most importantly I wear my RoadID every time I go out!

There are all sorts of gadgets I’d love to try but money doesn’t grow on trees. L

The fancy gear that a runner needs for the harsh Winter months in South Dakota appeals to me every year as I run bored out of my mind on the treadmill. The night vision glasses and LED shoelaces would be pretty cool to try while running in the dark too.

BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use.  Are there others you’d like to try?

MM: My current running GPS watch is the Garmin Vivoactive and I love it. It’s not gigantic and it looks kind of like the new apple smartwatch. I wear mine every day into the office as a regular watch too because it looks great, tells time, and the battery lasts forever.  I use the Scosche Rhythm + Optical heart rate monitor during workouts. It has Bluetooth and Ant+ connectivity which is very nice. It’s extremely accurate and I wear it on my forearm instead of the annoying band around my chest!

BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?

11143090_10205774909828758_1231978116553501973_nMM: Just do your personal best and don’t worry about others. Even some of the best of us that run every single day still don’t have the fastest or best pace! As long as you’re enjoying the sport and look forward to it, then you’re on the right path!