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Meet the Runner


Meet the Runner: Former TWRC President Leslie Hajdo

He was 30 pounds overweight and smoked. Ski season was just around the corner.

When Leslie Hajdo’s graduate school roommate presented the idea of running, Hajdo knew he had to get in shape if he had any chance of hitting the slopes for the downhill season.

“Within a few weeks, the breathing discomfort that accompanied a morning run after an evening with cigarettes helped me quit,” Hajdo said. That was 48 years ago. He never returned to smoking but instead lit up the roads with his long runs.

Today, Hajdo, a Canadian transplant to The Woodlands, logs 21-30 miles each week; practices yoga; and still motors through the moguls every chance he gets. He also serves up aces on the tennis court when he’s not running with The Woodlands Track Club.

“I started running with Dan Green on his Sunday long runs soon after moving to the Woodlands in 2000,” Hajdo said. “Then I joined his Wednesday evening track work-outs. In 2006, Scott Campbell began to talk to friends and acquaintances in those two groups about founding the Club.”

Hajdo was the inaugural Registrar, then served as President from 2019-2021.

He still joins the Sunday morning runs on a regular basis and participates in races throughout the area. He runs shorter and longer distances, but favors a competitive 10K.

“My favorite race is the YMCA Thanksgiving Day run,” he said. It often brings out old friends and acquaintances I have not seen in a while. My prettiest run is around Lake Woodlands and along the canal.”

At age 70, Hajdo has no plans to shift to life in the slow lane.

“I want to maintain sufficient fitness to race a half marathon at any time,” he said. “Jim Braden inspires me to run as long as possible and as fast as I can without injuring myself. I would like to be better at following Dana Lyons’ advice to add more speed work and different distances to my routines.”

Although he no longer serves on the Board for The Woodlands Running Club, Hajdo still holds a keen interest in the local running community.

“The Woodlands has thousands of joggers and runners,” Hajdo noted. “If we could substantially increase our membership, we could have more events and runs.”

Leslie Hajdo

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Meet the Runner: The Woodlands Running Club President Pam Meaux

Competition is her main motivator now, but when Pam Meaux started running almost 40 years ago, food was a priority.

Meaux hit the pavement when she started working at Entergy, right after college.

“I watched a friend at work eat whatever she wanted, but was very fit—she ran 6 miles, 6 days a week,” Meaux said. “I had a few—well maybe more than a few—college pounds to let go of, so I thought running might work.”

She started slow, putting in about 2 miles each day. Eventually, she worked her way up to a 5K race and quickly accelerated her training. She ran her first 10K several months later. Then, she entered her first marathon.

“I thought I would never run another one, it was so hard, but then 11 years later I was getting back into running after a 6-year hiatus to have kids, and somehow thought running a marathon was what I needed to get motivated to get back into running,” Meaux said.

Her strategy worked. “I ran the Honolulu Marathon in December 2001 and then 24 more since that one,” she said. “I've run five of the six majors, with Tokyo remaining. Hopefully I will have the chance to race it next year.”

Her best racing memory is the inaugural Woodlands Marathon in 2012. “Everything finally came together perfectly, and I ran my marathon PR,” Meaux said. “I cried at the finish line. It just felt so amazing!”

Ironman TX in 2018 and the Antarctica Marathon also rank high on her list of great races.

However, the year after her Woodlands Marathon debut, she did not replicate her success at the same race. In 2013 she ran one of her worst races to date.

“I was having a great race but then my IT (iliotibial band) started hurting badly,” Meaux said. “I quit at mile 22 because I did not want to damage it worse.”

Undeterred, she took on the London Marathon 6 weeks later and finished that race.

At age 61, she continues to race—and push the pace—whenever possible. She runs 25-30 miles each week and balances her workouts with family time with her husband, Jeff and adult children, Connor and Camille.

Meaux ran for treasurer of The Woodlands Running Club more than 5 years ago and was recently elected president of the club for 2022-2023.

“I decided I really had the time and motivation to step up and move the club forward,” she said. “The juniors program is very important to me.”

Her goals for the club include improving the website and growing the juniors program; and bringing more socials. “And maybe the iced towels for the summer,” she said.

Meaux, who also competes in triathlons, plans to keep running far into the future. The small act of lacing up her sneakers brings her joy, no matter how long—or short—the run is on the other side of the door.

“I love running with friends at 5 a.m., and then hanging out for coffee,” she said. “I love being home just hanging out with my husband and kids. Good music makes me happy. Being fit and active and hanging out with friends makes me happy.”

Pam Meaux

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