April Leonard has goals when it comes to running. With a long and impressive list of marathons that includes Chicago, Berlin, Germany, London, England, and New York, she won’t be content until she adds Tokyo, Japan and the Boston Marathon to her list of accomplishments. Leonard is hoping that happens next spring.

April Leonard has goals when it comes to running. With a long and impressive list of marathons that includes Chicago, Berlin, Germany, London, England, and New York, she won’t be content until she adds Tokyo, Japan and the Boston Marathon to her list of accomplishments. Leonard is hoping that happens next spring.

Being a marathon runner wasn’t necessarily what Leonard had in mind back in 2003 when she and her husband set off on a challenge to begin running together to develop a healthier lifestyle and lose some weight. Leonard and her husband run a family farm in Miller County, raising cattle and caring for their horses and chickens.

Eleven years ago, at 41, she ran her first marathon. Now, at 52, she is going strong despite a foot problem that she worried might put an end to her running and farming days.

Originally from Texas, Leonard was working in Alaska in advertising when she met her husband, whose hometown was Eugene. Eventually, they decided to move back to central Missouri.

During the course of her running career, Leonard had developed a collapsing arch and painful bunion from training and participating in marathons. For a while, she thought her goal of making Boston and Tokyo were unattainable. In fact, she was concerned eventually she would have to give up the things she enjoys most, running and working on the farm.

In her quest to find a solution, Leonard found Dr. Jody McAleer in Jefferson City. It was through him that Leonard learned about Lapiplasty, a 3-D bunion correction surgery that corrects painful bunion deformity.

Using a specialized surgery, it restores normal rotation that is especially important for the wear and tear runners put on their feet.

Leonard said that five months after surgery, she ran her first 10K race. In five more months, she had moved up to a half marathon. With each step, she has gotten closer to her end goals. She had the procedure in December 2017 on her left foot. Her recovery took a little longer due to the arch issue that was treated at the same time as her bunion surgery. She was non-weight bearing for seven weeks. Her husband tended the family farm, while she recuperated. She had to take off three months from racing. Leonard said “I went back to running as soon as the walking boot came off.”

In addition to trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, Leonard has applied for the race in Tokyo in March.

The Boston Marathon in April has time qualifications that she is still trying to meet. The Tokyo marathon is based on a lottery system. Her goal is to complete both of those marathons to earn the “six club” distinction from Abbot World Marathons. It’s a distinction elite marathon runners strive to achieve.

For a full marathon of 26.2 miles, Leonard’s best time is 4.4 hours. She has traveled every street in Eldon at least twice and sometimes runs gravel roads participating in the virtual “Running with the Cows” half marathon and 5K. She also acts as the public relations director for the Bridge and Dam 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon held in March in Lake Ozark.

“It’s really fun, and gravel is actually easier on my arches, more cushion than pavement, she said.

Leonard has won more age group awards than anything else. She won overall female runner at an Eldon 5K. She has ran with “Team in Training” running group which standout in their bright purple signature t-shirts.

Leonard has participated in that group twice raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” says Leonard. When Leonard is not running or taking care of cattle, she speaks for Dr. McAleer at local informational meetings. Dr. McAleer is the surgeon who performed the surgery that gave Leonard a second chance at running. As far as the surgery, Leonard said while some may want it done for cosmetic correction, she is just happy to get to finish a race and run every day for health.