In the fall of 2014, Maribel Dichard felt herself hitting rock bottom. Outwardly, she had it all. A successful career, loving marriage and two healthy children. However, she also had a drinking problem, “I hit a point where I realized my kids could see it.” That evening, she took her last drink and quickly discovered running.
Maribel grew up in Lorton, VA, just south of DC. The second oldest of five children, she thrived in the classroom. Her mother couldn’t speak English and getting rides to and from sports were not feasible for her family. So Maribel kept busy with her homework and chores while devouring books. But she was never a runner during her younger years.
When her daughter Alyssa was born, she dabbled in it as a way to get healthy and stay active. However, post sobriety, her love of running has skyrocketed. In 2017, she turned 40 and achieved her ambitious goal of running a marathon every month. “2017 was the year I went crazy,” said Maribel. She completed 13 states (plus DC) that year and recalled one particular race, “The Vermont 50k was my first real experience with elevation.”
In 2018, she ran the Pistol Ultra in Tennessee, an event with a unique format. Participants have the option of running a variety of distances or the Double Barrel, where runners can choose either a 50k or 100k in the morning, followed up by a 50-mile run in the evening. Maribel tackled the Double Barrel option.
Family continues to be a huge part of her life. Maribel’s husband and kids cheer her on at races and know how important running is to her. “I’m very blessed that they are so understanding and giving. They are very supportive. I completely relate with how running is meditation, and it really makes a difference in my ongoing sobriety.” Since becoming sober, Maribel has completed 36 marathons, twelve 50k races and three 50-milers in 25 states.
Looking ahead, her race calendar is filling up. She will be adding to her list of states and bumping up her ultra numbers, with four 50k races already planned for 2020. She’s also going back to the Pistol Ultra. Her openness with her own story of sobriety is two-fold, as it brings her tremendous peace to share her struggles and triumphs. She also has a desire to go beyond just helping herself stay sober and wants to help others. Reflecting back on her running thus far, Maribel says, “I constantly find myself grateful for my sobriety and to be the person I am today. I’m so grateful for where I am.”