Mari Ruddy didn’t let health problems throughout her life slow her down. After removing negativity from her life, she started looking at her body as a sanctuary. Finding passion in physical and mental health changed and kickstarted a new life.

Mari, tell us about your passion. 

I am passionate about endurance exercise as a way to get back in your body after trauma and disease.

How did you discover your passion, and how long have you been practicing it?

I discovered my passion at age 39 when I trained for and successfully completed a 400-mile bike ride across the state of Colorado. This accomplishment launched me into many more long bike rides, discovering triathlon and exploring long-distance running. All for fun!

What was happening in your life when you began to discover this passion?

I have type 1 diabetes and I've survived two rounds of breast cancer. Additionally, I've thankfully survived two suicide attempts before I realized being in my body was my sanctuary, not something to avoid.

Have you ever hesitated in pursuing it? Why? What support has helped you continue?

I didn't always love running, that passion took more than 15 years to fall in love with. What made the biggest difference was having a small group of friends during the pandemic who agreed to meet outside every week to go running at a distance. The in-person socialization time along with the consistency helped me discover that I could and did love running for the sake of running. Plus I now own excellent merino wool running gear!

Where have you needed to invest your time, energy, or other resources to pursue this passion?


I lean toward having a passion for endurance athletic gear. I own only two bikes but many pairs of running shoes and bike gear. I regularly need to reign myself in with gear purchases!! The thing I've needed to remove from my life are people who are fun cell suckers. Every moment of life is precious, so having good people in my life who care about their health and wellness makes all the difference.

Tell us about one challenge you've encountered as you've pursued this passion.

I've had type 1 diabetes for 41 years now and for one of my two rounds of breast cancer I went through chemotherapy, as a result, I'm having some challenges with dizziness and that's been linked to my heart. I now have a cardiologist and we are working to discover what's going on. Thankfully my cardiologist is married to my oncologist. And both of them are friendly with my endocrinologist. Having a medical team that talks to one another makes all the difference.

Look back at the "you" before you started this passion. Is your life different now? How?

Before I started participating in endurance athletics I was very much dissociated from my body. I had not done very much therapy. Thankfully, I found therapeutic support in the form of excellent mental health healing systems at the same time that I discovered endurance exercise. Before this discovery, I had somewhat poorly managed type 1 diabetes. Discovering the joy of being in my body helped get me on the road to excellent health. Additionally, I've found a community of supportive, close friends who also care about their well-being.

How has your passion helped others? 


I started the Red Rider Recognition program that is used at the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure bike and walk events, recognizing the participants who live with diabetes. I owned a company for six years called TeamWILD Athletics and we trained more than 350 people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to embrace an endurance athlete lifestyle. We took a team of women with diabetes to do a Half Ironman then a few years later a full Ironman. Plus we had many in-person camps for people with diabetes to learn how to manage their health while doing various sports. These days I help organize running, biking and swimming get-together events with the various groups I am part of!

What is one "life lesson" you're learning as you pursue this passion?

You ARE an athlete. Make time in your busy life schedule for your own health and well-being. Go for a walk. Sign up for and train for a 5K. Take your bike in for a tune-up, then go for a bike ride and notice the beautiful trees as you ride! Notice how strong your body actually is! You are worth it!!

What would you say to a Passionado who is considering exploring a passion?

Sit quietly and get clear. Then take action. Find support as you will likely lose confidence at some point. The support will make all the difference in finding your way back to your passion and mission.

Get Mari's book about becoming an endurance athlete - Extreme Healing: Finding Your Inner Endurance Athlete 

Learn more about Mari.