Photo of Kathleen Jobes



Sun-Maid has partnered with Runner’s World to share the message to #RememberRaisins when you run. The following interview originally appeared at

Photo by Jennie Finken Photography.

She may be your neighbor. Or perhaps you see her at the grocery store. You most certainly watch her run by on the bike path, seemingly weightless, as she laughs with shirtless guys who are little more than half her age. They all sport the same lack of body fat and apparent joy for their chosen activity of running. She exists in many communities across the U.S. but here’s a real live one who has slowed down long enough to answer some questions about how she does it all.

Kathleen Jobes manages to juggle the triad of family, career and high-level running and racing with apparent ease but, with this Q &A, offers insight into what keeps it all going and where it isn’t all as easy as meets the eye.


“Once I started [running], I was hooked, and I ran through both of my pregnancies.”

Describe yourself as a runner: when and why did you start? Do you compete, or run just for fun?

I’m just a mother who loves to run — blessed to have the success I’ve had. I never competed in any high school sports or considered myself very athletic, and I only picked up running in my mid-twenties to stay in shape. But once I started I was hooked, and I ran through both of my pregnancies. Once my youngest child, Jack, was born, I set a lofty goal of qualifying for the Olympic Trials. I achieved it at the 2006 Grandma’s Marathon. Nine years later I am still competing and grateful for each and every run.


“I describe my life as ‘controlled chaos.’ It isn’t always pretty, but it works!”

How do you make running a part of a busy schedule?

I describe my life as “controlled chaos.” It isn’t always pretty but it works! I look at running as part of my life and not something I have to fit in or that should cause me stress. I have been extremely blessed to have a family, friends, and a career that supports me in my running goals. No doubt, some days are definitely easier than others to fit it all it all in but I thrive on maintaining a healthy balance and realize, at the end of the day, it has to be fun or why do it?! My daughter, Emily, often leaves me notes before races that read,” Mommy, remember to have fun!” Those are the same words I say to her before she heads to her races.


“I am a big proponent of ‘real food.’ Raisins/dried fruit snacks are a staple to supply energy for my running.”

What’s your running schedule and nutrition plan to support your running?

I knew, intellectually, that food affects performance but early in my running career I was terrible about nutrition…coffee after a long run was my go to replenishment plan. ….with age (and many miles) eventually comes a bit of wisdom. Today I make sure I fuel properly before and after my workouts. I am a big proponent of “real food.” Whey Protein shakes, energy-sustaining carbohydrates and raisins/dried fruits snacks are a staple to supply energy for my running, as well as the nutrition I need for post-run recovery. Like my training, my approach to nutrition is pretty simple. I see both nutrition and training consistency as the foundation to maintaining a high-level of performance. Good fueling practices before, during and after workouts have the biggest impact on my ability to run well and recover.  


How does your family benefit from your commitment to healthy eating and exercise (incorporate dried fruit, meal prep, snacking for kids, etc.)

By accident or by design our children have been brought up in an “unplugged” environment as the direct result of our active lifestyle. It is an “old-school” mentality, with the kids outside playing basketball, bikes, etc. Our children see how my husband and I are dedicated to working out regularly and we all eat healthy snacks and well-balanced meals. We remind them “you are what you eat” but we do not deprive them of an occasional treat. Everything in moderation!  


How do you derive inspiration from your sport and where do you get your motivation when you are tired and there just don’t seem to be enough hours in your day?

My inspiration/drive comes from:

  • My kids: After a heart breaking injury this fall that prevented me from running the Chicago marathon, Emily and Jack never let me doubt for a moment that I would not come back even stronger. More importantly, they kept me aware of the fact that I do not need to go to a starting line to be number one, because they let me know I am always their number one!
  • My training partners: A group of very talented young male runners that show up every Sunday for my weekly long run. They do this for reasons unbeknownst to me but I am forever grateful.


What are running goals and what running achievements to date make you most proud?

I have had a lot of great races but qualifying for the 2008 Women’s Marathon Trials is my proudest achievement in my career. This year I had my sights on qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, however, a broken calcaneus (heel) quickly derailed that goal. Two months on crutches was therapy for my heel and a hard reset to my running goals. Short term I will focus on shorter distances with the long term goal of a run at a qualifying time for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials.


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