If you’ve passed a runner while driving along one of the roads in Hammond, you may have just seen Amy Maciejewski.
A lifelong Hammond resident, Maciewjewski works as a case manager for Unity of Indiana, where she works with special needs people, helping to make them more become independent.
“It’s incredibly rewarding work,” she said, who primarily works from home, though she does have to meet with each of her cases every 90 days.
It’s clear that while she loves her job, she’s a runner at heart.
After attending Morton High School in Hammond, she went to Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana where she studied political science and sociology. While there, she ran cross country and track, and is proud of the fact that her cross-country team made conference champions four years in a row, from 2009 through 2012.
Maciejewski says that she fell in love with running back in middle school, after being encouraged by her best friend.
“My friend tried out for volleyball, but she didn’t make it, so she joined cross country instead. The next year, she told me that I should try it, it’s just the greatest thing ever. I’ve been running ever since,” she said.
Maciejewski says she is more of a long-distance runner, and recently completed her longest race ever - a 50-mile trail race at Chain O’Lakes State Park in Albion, Indiana.
“The race was broken up into loops: an initial 10-mile loop and then two 20-miles loops,” she said. “It was a lot harder mentally than physically. Getting through the last last 20-mile loop of that race was pretty tough.”
Maciejewski says she trains by running every day, and competes in marathons across the country, travelling to races in West Virginia and Green Bay.
“Green Bay especially was really nice,” Maciejewski said. “I really loved it. Being a huge Packers fan, it was great to be there.”
Most of her runs are with the Calumet Region Striders, a local running group.
“Running is... to me, it’s relaxing. It’s relaxing, and the community out there that I meet because of it is great. That’s one of the reasons why I love it,” she said. “I go out, get into that zone... I plan on doing maybe six miles and I do, and it’s just such a good feeling that I sometimes go on and just keep running and do a few more.”
Maciejewski, who lives at home with her parents, appreciates the support she receives from her dad, Dave Maciejewski. Dave follows her on a bike during her runs, handing her bottles of water to help keep her hydrated. In between races, she enjoys reading books, particularly mystery and suspense.
She loves the Hammond area, feeling that the location is perfect for her.
“It’s nice to live in a well-populated area, but without being overcrowded. Everything that we need is close by. It’s easy to get around. Everything is just 30 minutes away.”
She loves the local festivals and activities, and says she “never misses Pierogi Fest,” she said, laughing.
Starting soon, Maciejewski will start her training for the Chicago Marathon in October.
Though she loves pounding the roads and ramping up miles, when she’s done running, she enjoys treating herself with her favorite restaurant, Los Altenos.
“I love their baked tacos with beans and guacamole. It’s the best,” she said.
If you’re interested in joining the Calumet Region Striders, you can find them online at http://www.calstrider.org/