Family and running are Sharon Nollan's passions. Sharon and her husband Chris have three children--Michael, Erich, and Victoria. She grew up in Hastings, but has lived in Cottage Grove for over 20 years.
She says that the two things she could not live without are her husband and her kids. Victoria is a junior and Erich is a senior at East Ridge High School in Woodbury. Michael is a junior majoring in education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and plans to become a math teacher.
Sharon's other passion is running. In 1990, Sharon ran her first marathon. Since then, she has run 41 marathons in over 20 U.S. states and on five different continents. She has yet to run a marathon in Africa or Australia.
"I enjoy distance running," she said. "It has given me the opportunity to combine things I love. I love to travel, I love to meet new people, I love to go to new places, and I'm passionate about running."
Sharon belongs to the 50 States Marathon Club and Marathon Maniacs. She travels with both groups to run races in different states and countries.
Most recently, Sharon completed two marathons in a 24 hour period on two different continents--South America and Antarctica. She started her marathon of marathons in Punta Arenas, Chile and ended her trip in King George Island, Antarctica.
"It was pretty incredible. I had to dig down deep to make it happen, but it was an extraordinary experience," she said. "It's an amazing feeling to be elbow-to-elbow with people who come from all walks of life and you're all running to the same goal."
Beyond marathons, Sharon has also completed an Ironman triathlon in 14 hours.
"I was smiling ear-to-ear once I completed the 2.4 mile swim," she said. "The swim was my weakest leg because I had just taught myself to swim about three years before and I'm scared of swimming in open water. So I knew I had it, once I completed the swim."
Sharon is also passionate about giving back to the sport she loves. She volunteers as coaching staff for the Moms on the Run and Girls on the Run. She coaches moms and middle-school aged girls to run their first races.
"I cannot express how rewarding it is to be by the side of a new runner as the cross the finish line of their first race," Sharon said.
After all the marathons Sharon has completed, she has a few favorite memories. She ran a marathon on the Great Wall of China. Sharon also ran a marathon in Walt Disney World. She received a Mickey Mouse medal when she finished.
"My time was awful because I stopped to take pictures with all the characters," she said.
But overall, she says that her favorite one is the Twin Cities Marathon.
After all these amazing accomplishments, Sharon still manages to be an amazing asset to ASR. In fall 2011, she started as a business analyst in the Student Financials Unit in ASR-IT. In January, she joined the ESUP Portal Project team. The team is currently gathering requirements for the Portal and encouraging stakeholder engagement.
"This is a great opportunity to create a dynamic and trend setting portal tool for the entire University," Sharon said. "I enjoy being part of a brainstorming think tank."
1. Sharon loves Italian food. "Lots of pasta for this runner."
2. Sharon has a bachelors degree in psychology and business administration and a master's in software design and development.
3. Sharon has a fear of public speaking, but she is getting involved with the Art of Hosting to help ease that fear.
4. Phil Collins was her first concert.
5. Sharon loves to landscape and garden in her backyard.
6. If she could be anything, she'd be a landscape designer.
7. Sharon's favorite author is Wayne Dyre.
8. Sharon enjoys Jim Carrey movies.
9. Before coming to the U, Sharon worked on the IT web strategies team at Capella University.
10. Sharon loves traveling to the North Shore with her family.