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Wednesday, 18 April 2018 13:52

DESI GETS IT DONE THE HARD WAY AT BOSTON

BY CAROLYN MATHER, RUNNING JOURNAL
No one deserved to be the first American woman to win Boston since another Michigander Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985 than Desiree Linden. She has placed well here in each of her races including her second place finish by two seconds in 2011. Desi's first trip here in 2007 had conditions nearly as bad as today. But today's weather of near freezing temperatures, strong headwinds and periods of torrential rain and even hail led every athlete on the course to the ultimate test.
 
I have been attending this marathon for forty years and today's weather was absolutely the worst ever imagined. The professional women started off at 9:32am and the first mile was passed in 6:24. A huge pack held together for many miles as no one was particularly keen on taking the lead although Bezunesh Deba and Mamitu Daska took the lead several times then came back to the pack.
Published in Marathons
Sunday, 12 November 2017 22:29

SHALANE SUCCESS SHARED

By Carolyn Mather

 

Today Shalane Flanagan shared her success with 50,700 finishers and over 600 million viewers across the world who watched her race at the TCS New York City Marathon.A new footnote is that three American women went under 2:30 for the first time in race history.The finishers hailed from 125 nations and all 50 states.Race director, Peter Ciaccia stated that "New York was the center of the running world all weekend and held the greatest marathon in the world".Surely that echoed Shalane's feelings as she was still on an adrenaline high this morning having not slept and arising at 5:30am to appear on Good Morning America and with Kelly Ripa. She found herself eating pizza at 3:30am and reliving her dream come true.

 

I suspect she truly made her dream a reality for late finishers as she and Meb and a few other elites returned to the finish line late last evening to present medals to finishers. What an incredible treat that must have been for some unsuspecting but tired and elated runners.

 

 While having the winners present checks to their chosen charities this morning, the New York Roan Runners also honored Noah and Raine the first finishers in the kids race and had them present a check to Save the Children. Giving back is a way the NYRR awards $10,000 checks to the winners to donate to their favorite charity.

 

And although Meb was the story of the week, Shalane is the story of the moment.She has worked for this victory nearly all of her life. Having runners as parents set a model for her to pursue. She feels her parents and athletics have given her a never give up attitude and a strong work ethic.She stated that this job is "an all encompassing lifestyle that is 24/7".Right now she wants to live in the present moment and savor this victory and all of it's ramifications.She is feeling extreme joy,gratitude and validation. She views her victory as "the culmination of a lifetime of work".In 2010 she was second here and she quipped " it has taken seven years to move up one place".She called this race "my superbowl".

Published in Athletes
By Carolyn Mather
 
On a damp and chilly morning in New York City Shalane Flanagan held true to her promise to win the TCS New York City Marathon and added a crown jewel to her massive resume of American records and an Olymmpic silver medal. Returning to the marathon after her last marathon in August 2016 at the Olympic Marathon in Rio de Janeiro, she has suffered through a broken back and basically a year out of competition missing the world championship 10,000 track team by one place.
 
Yet today brought a redemption and a dream finally realized as she took the TCS New York City Marathon by storm and became the first female winner in forty years. Throughout the week she stayed firm in her belief that it was her time. Although the dominant,according to Shalane "alpha female" in the field was three time winner Mary Keitany, Shalane promised she would cover every move Mary or anyone else made to get that long awaited major marathon major title. Although that appeared somewhat of a potential suicide mission,her coach Jerry Schumacher said there was no specific plan except to do exactly that. 
 
Fortunately on this morning in the Big Apple, an Italian triathlete Sara Dossenna took the early lead after a 6:43 first mile and 12:41 at two miles. A fairly pedestrian 19:15 for 5K and 36:55 10K left a large pack of nineteen together, jostling for their special fluid bottles and waiting for the racing to begin. A pack of nine remained at 25K (1:30:08)and a few were seconds behind.They were still on a 2:32 pace which would not put undue strain on any of these women.
Published in Marathons
By Carolyn Mather
 
The title of this article comes from the concluding statement of Gabriele Grunewald at today's third annual AKTIV against cancer awards luncheon where Gabe was presented the Special Inspiration Award. AKTIV against cancer is an organization founded by nine time NYC Marathon Champion and Norwegian superstar Grete Waitz and current Executive Director Helle Aanesen in Norway in 2007. The organization has helped to create fifteen physical activity centers in cancer treatment hospitals throughout Norway and established an official presence in the United States in 2014.
 
Gabriele Grunewald, professional runner and amazing woman was diagnosed at age 22 with one of the rarest types of cancer-adenoid cystic carcinoma. Despite the diagnosis and now in her fourth battle with this disease, Gabe has continued as a top professional athlete and a woman of incredible strength and courage.
 
I have had the privilege of knowing Gabe as she ran for Brooks and Team USA Minnesota for many years. Gabe is the epitome of moving forward no matter what life throws your way as she has learned that life is not so simple. Although Gabe is not known for her distance running and contends at shorter distances than the marathon, she has found this battle is "my marathon" in life. She was not prepared for this journey but she has fought it with a tenacity found in committed runners. In fact the day after her initial diagnosis she donned her racing singlet and set a personal best on the track. This lady has the focus to do whatever needs to be done.
 
Although Gabe makes her living at running, she quickly learned that running is not life or death as life is full of uncertainty and we truly have to live in the present moment. It is all about perspective as my dear husband Steve told me many times.You have to continue to do what makes you feel alive. And despite the return of tumors after three surgeries and chemotherapy, Gabe has found that running is worth doing even if it is not perfect. "Running is my medicine" she stated as she is excited that she plans to race indoors in 2018.Her statement of "plans are when dreams are realized" gives her hope for the future.
 
Gabe has discovered with only 600 cases of this type of cancer in the United States, that there has been no research on this. So she has become "a lab rat" willing to try whatever the doctors entrusted with her care recommend. She has been making frequent trips to Sloan Kettering in New York City for her immunotherapy treatment and although that is now done and she moves on to a type of radiation therapy at the Mayo Clinic which is closer to her home in Minneapolis, there has been some necrosis in the tumors in her liver.
Published in Athletes
Thursday, 09 November 2017 15:10

MOLLY HUDDLE RETURNS TO THE BIG APPLE

By Carolyn Mather

 

American record holder and Olympian Molly Huddle is in New York City this week to honor Gabe Grunewald as she received the Special Inspiration Award at the 3rd Annual Activ against cancer luncheon, to support her sponsor Saucony and to race the USATF Championship Dash to the Finish 5K on Saturday before the main event, the TCS New York City in Marathon on Sunday which she ran in her debut marathon in 2016 with a third place podium finish in 2:28:13. Molly had decided to forgo a fall marathon thinking she would not have time to get ready after concentrating on her summer track season. She realized a bit too late that she probably could have raced a fall marathon but she will now put all of her focus on a spring marathon(to be announced in December).

 

Molly decided at the last minute to race the 5K and get back to racing following a break from her outdoor track season. After this she plans to race the Manchester Road Race (4.738 miles) on Thanksgiving Day then move to the Houston Half Marathon in January as she gets into serious marathon training. Having lost her marathon training partners of Olympians Amy Cragg and Kim Smith, she has been training with Emily Sisson and several other up and coming "youngsters" who she figures she is "mom" to them. At age 33 Molly is hardly that old and well suited to have continued success on the roads and to providing insightful guidance to "her children". 

Published in Roads