Ellen Jaffe Jones, 69, is a short- and long-distance runner. She finished third in her age group at the women's 800-meter run (4:14.35) at the 2022 National Senior Games, held May 10-23 in Fort Lauderdale. Jones competed in the 70-74 age group as the Games are categorized by birth year and Jones was born in November. Jones also finished sixth in the 1,500 meter run (8:30.76).
When did you start competitive running?
I started running in the Snowball Series of races in St. Louis, where I'm from, in the early 1990s. But I did those just for fun. I started taking running seriously when I moved here (in 2004). I started training with the Bradenton Runners Club and I was actually an assistant cross country and track coach at Manatee High for three years before my first book ("Eat Vegan on $4 a Day") came out in 2011. Then I got too busy.
What is the appeal to you?
The adrenaline rush. There is just something about running with the pack that I enjoy. There are great community events and 5Ks in the area.
What is your favorite event?
I always say my favorite event is the one with the least people competing in it. It gives you the best chance to do well. Usually that is the 1,500 meter run but this year it was the 800-meter run.
What is the secret to your success?
I drink eight ounces of beet juice 30 minutes before each race and that gets me ready to go.
What is your favorite memory?
I always love running in the Skyway 10K over the bridge. It is exhilarating. You get chills before the race. The view down, it is like you are a pelican floating down the bridge. The race gets larger every year but fewer people in my age group compete, so I can do well in it, too.
What are your goals?
I am on the way to 300 races of a 5K distance or longer. I am at 254 right now. I want to hit 300. I am competing in a race basically every weekend during running season. I want to blow up the myth that vegans are weak and don't have the stamina to run this much.
What is your favorite food?
That is like asking me to pick a favorite child. I make a great chocolate mousse with silken tofu. You cannot tell the difference between it and a heavy cream mousse. I also love millet because it is this yellow grain that looks like it has butter on it, but it doesn't. It tastes fairly sweet.
What are your hobbies?
I love to go sailing. I also love photography. My training at the University of Missouri's School of Journalism helped with that. I have always taken good photos.
What is your favorite TV show?
I don't watch a lot of TV. I liked "House of Cards" when that was on, but that's probably dating me. I watch a lot of YouTube videos. I like Michael Greger's channel, Nutrition Facts. He is a doctor and there is lots of good nutrition information on there.
What is the best advice you have received?
Try not to have any regrets. That is easier to say than to do, but I do think people should try.
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