“Legends of the Marathon”

August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

“Grete Waitz, of Norway won the NYC Marathon a record nine times, and she leads a roster of legends and champions honored as the “Marathoners of the Decades” as part of the celebration of the 40gh running of the NYC Marathon.  The winners were chosen for their accomplishments in NY and the lasting legacy of their triumphs in the sport of long-distance running.  Waitz has set world records in the 3,000 meter, 8 kilometer, 10 kilometer, 15 kilometer, 10 mile and the marathon.  She was the first woman to run a marathon in under 2 hours and 30 minutes, and the first female world champion in the marathon.  At the 1984 Summer Olympics in LA, she won the silver medal.  SHe was honored as the women’s Marathoner of the Decade for the 1980’s.  She won seven of her nine NYC Marathon crowns during that period, including five consecutive wins from 1982 to 1986. The champion runner broke the world record in her first three appearances in NY (1978-1980), and she last ran in NY in 1992, in an emotional tour of the five boroughs with her friend, the late Fred Lebow, who ran the Marathon in remission from cancer that would take his life two years later.”

Joan Benoit-Samuelson of Freeport, Maine, broke the female course record for the Boston Marathon in 1979, then went on to set a record for both the historic New England race and the world in 1983 by running 26.2 mile marathon distance in a record 2 hours, 22 minutes, 43 seconds.  Samuelson’s other achievements include winning the gold medal as part of the US team in the 1984 Summer Olympics in LA. 25 years to the day after that historic gold medal victory in the first women’s Olympic marathon, Samuelson will run in the ING NYC Marathon on Sunday, Nov 1st, setting her sights on the 50 + divison record of 2:53:53, set by S. Rae Bayiller in 1993.  SHe will be competing in her fifth NYC Marathon, having finished the 2001 event in 2: 42: 56, the second fastest time in the 40+division that year.  Samuelson also competed in 1988 (third, 2:32:40), 1991 (sixth, 2:33:48), and 1998 (first master at age 41, 2:41: 06).  A two time Boston Marathon winner and former marathon world-record holder, Samuelson  continues to compete.  Grete Waitz finished a minute and a half behind Samuelson to take the silver medal.”

Deena Kastor: was born in Waltham, MA, and grew up in California.  In high school, she won two California state titles in track and three in cross country.  She attended the Univ of Arkansas where she won seven Southeastern Conference titles. She was inducted into the Univ of ARkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.  Ms. Kastor’s post-college career has included numerous successes in marathons and road races.  She won a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic marathon and won the Chicago Marathon in 2005 and the London Marathon in 2006, where she set the American record and became the fourth fastest woman ever in the marathon.  In addition to holding the American record in the marathon, Ms. Kastor set new American records in the half-marathon, the 20km, 15km, the 12 km, the 10 mile, the 8km and the 10,000 meters.  She is also a two time World Cross Country silver medalist, a five time USA 10,000m champion, the 2001 US marathon champion, a 5 time USA 15km champion, a seven time US 8km cross country champion and an eight time NCAA All American.  She was awarded the 2003 Jesse Owens Award as the nation’s top track and field athlete and was named USATF’s Visa Humanitarian Athlete of the year in 2002.  Ms Kastor married Andrew Kastor in 2003.  She trains more than 100 miles per week.”

Lance Armstrong, won the Tour de France seven years in a row.  He has survived testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. Lance retired from racing in 2005, but returned to competitive cycling in 2009, finishing in the 2009 Tour de France.

“NYC!!!”  “Everyone is equal on race day!!!” Fred Lebow founded the NYC Marathon in 1970,  with only 127 runners and 55 finishers, now nearly 40,000 will run this Sunday, November 1st. The marathon has never been about the numbers, but the heart and soul of New York City, to overcome the odds.”

Q:  TO GRETE:  You have won the NYC Marathon nine times!  You have actually walked it once? Was it difficult walking it?

A: “It’s hard to walk fast for 7 hours. Hard to be on your toes for 5 hours.”

Q: TO JOAN: What was the greatest Marathon ever?

A: “People often ask me what I think the greatest marathon ever was, and I tell them, Greta’s run with Fred Lebow”.

Q: TO JOAN: You have finished ever road race you have started. Why have you never stopped a race?

A: “It’s important to finish what you start. When I thought I was going to have to stop a Marathon I started in Chicago a couple of years ago, I felt like a victim of a drive by shooting,I stopped by the medical booths, but I kept going after stopping, and I did finish.  I put a lot of pressure on myself.”  2: 49.

Q: TO DEENA: You recently broke your foot in Bejing.  You are the first woman to go under 2:20.

A: ” I completely shattered my 3rd metatarsal, and after a long and slow recovery, I was able to run the Chicago marathon a few weeks ago. I had the goals and the intentions of winning the race, and getting into a routine. I felt an urge to go to the bathroom at 5K, and at 6K, I had to veer off the course to use the facilities, I lost my pace and remained 6th place.  I would never miss the New York City Marathon”

Q: TO GRETE:  You had a mishap on the course/the urge to use the bathroom. Tell us about that.

A: “I’ve been through it all in NY  but in 1984, I got stomach problems, and lost my focus, I thought either I have to drop out or I have to do something.  I had to urinate, and I just let it go. It was embarassing, but, I won the race.  I couldn’t let my stomach problems destroy my goals.

Don’t get distracted, whatever is bothering you. ”

Q:  TO LANCE: “What are you doing here?

A: “I was going to be here this weekend anyway.  I love these women, special women to me. I’ve had interesting experiences with the.  I saw the pictures of them in a “New York Times Article”, and the pictures were huge, it was like they were there with me having coffee with me. I’m not a woman, and I’m not a marathoner, but I sort of weaseled my way in.”

Q:  TO LANCE: Didn’t you and Joan run together in the NYC Marathon?”

A:  “Yes,  that year I had some pacers. I started out with Alberto Salazar, from mile 0 to 10, and Joan was going to run to 10 to 20 with me, but she ran the last 10 to 26.2.  She realized I was in such trouble. I also ran part of the race with Moroccan runner Hicham El Gerrouj. It was very difficult.”

Q: TO LANCE: You have never iced after a Marathon?

A: The first one I ran, I didn’t train very much, and I had shin splints, I forced myself to get through it.  I couldn’t walk. I had to go to Scotsdale, Arizona the next week for a speech, and I couldn’t walk.  I was in the airport, and they had to get a baggage car for me. ”

Q: TO GRETE: On her experiences.

A: I had stress fractures up and down my shins, and mile 20, I had my doubts, I was angry and mad and wanted to divorce my husband who talked me in to running the marathon.  My second half was faster than my first half. My best mile is 4:25.”

Q: TO JOAN:  Tell us about the Marathon in 1979 in Bermuda.

A: I had gotten to the 1/2 way mark and stopped, I was asked if I wanted a ride back, but after thinking it through for about 10 minutes, I decided to make it to the finish line.  My achilles were really bad, but the Boston Marathon was only a few months away. In Boston I ran by a fan and someone asked me if I wanted a Red Sox cap or a beer, I took the cap, had I taken the beer, I probably wouldn’t have finished.  It was a tough Marathon, they had dropped us off 2 miles from the starting line. I ate a lot the night before, I could barely get into bed.”

Q:  TO DEENA:  How did Joan and Grete inspire you?

A:  “I started running at eleven years old, and I remember watching the first women’s Olympic Marathon on tv, and remember being inspired by them, and a year later, I became a runner.  Joan and Grete inspire me and continue to, and to hear Lance talk about the Marathon. What makes the Marathon so beautiful is that you have 45,000 people on the starting line, so culturally diverse, no socioeconomic boundaries, great cross section of people from every ethnic background.”

Q: TO LANCE:  Why did you run the marathon?

A: “I was actually a swimmer first, a runner second, and a cyclist, third. Running is more efficient, easier when I was travelling, no equipment. If you are going to run a marathon, this is the one to do.  I’ve run 2 NY’s and 1 Boston. The first one I ran I wanted to break 3 hours, and I think I did 2:59: 36, the next year I did 2:46, and Boston, 2:49.  I still run during the off time. ”
Q: TO LANCE: Any interest in a triathalon?

A: “I look at them on tv. I’ll race another year on the road, and then maybe in next  2011, I’ll do a couple of Iron Mans. I got back on the bike.  It’s tough, but worth it.”

Q: TO GRETE: How did you meet Lance?

A: “In spring 2005, after surgery, chemo, Doctors told me to take it easy, I was a couch potato for 2 months, I got an email from Lance, I decided to get off the couch, started walking and then running and gradually get my life back.


A: “Mary Wittenberg had sent me a note, and I sent Grete a note. I believe that cancer is something that disrupts your life.”

A: GRETE: “I was given support to pursue my passion, to inspire other people to get off the couch.  I had written a book, “Run Your First Marathon”. Running a marathon is not that hard, if you have done the homework. Hurry Slowly. You can’t get back lost training time and be patient.  It’s okay if you need to be patient. It’s okay to do the run walk method. Walk like you are late for a meeting.  Walk one minute every mile.  A fast walk is not that much slower than a run.

Q: TO JOAN: How do you feel about the walk run racers?

A:  Everyone can win a marathon to some degree. It’s important to run your own race.  You can’t win anyone else’s race. If you are running a 5-6 hour Marathon, try to achieve your goals that you set for yourself.  Running is very affordable and very satisfying.”

Q:  TO DEENA: How do you feel about slow runners?

A: “We are all Marathoners out there, no one can wake up on Sunday afternoon and prepare for.  We all woke up early, we all worked hard. There is a mutual respect on the starting line.  I get nervous during training, but the race is the celebration.  During the race you get to enjoy hammering it out one last time. Congratulations for even getting to the race.   Enjoy the homecoming. 26.2 miles, enjoy the celebration of going through the boroughs!.

Q: TO LANCE: Thoughts on slow runners?

A: “Same with cycling, there are 5 to 10,000 riders, the slower are the majority, and in the Marathon of 40,000 people, not everyone is not running 2:30, the majority of people are slow, and the majority rules.”

Q: TO LANCE: What do you think about when you are running?

A:  “I don’t get a lot of thinking done when I run. It’s a lot shorter than cycling. If I only run for an hour or so. When I am cycling, I ride for 8 hours. That is a lot of therapy. I don’t talk to anyone, I don’t read anything. It’s very very different, I never found that place while I was running.”

Q: TO DEENA: What do you think about while you are running?

A: “Training and racing are different.  In training, I’ll think about my to do list for the first couple of miles, and then I’ll focus on what I am actually doing.  In Chicago I was pretty narrow minded.  Once the race comes around, I think about how hard I have worked for this, and what I have done in the previous months. Keep pushing through. It doesn’t matter if you are running 6 hours or 2:30, you are out there and are pushing the limits. Do what your body can do.  My coach in Chicago told me, today is the day you can define yourself.”

Q: TO JOAN: What do you think about while running?

A: “I just really wanted to get to the starting line. I believed there wasn’t anybody out there. I new once I crossed that distance of 17 miles, and at 20 miles I was running out of gas. I thought my efforts in the trials  would send a message to my competitors. My mantra was, ‘last will come first, and first will come last.’  The trials were the biggest race of my life. ”

Q:  TO DEENA: Who do you train with?

A:  Terrance Mahon, running coach, Chris LeDoux, from the Iron Man/Kona, Ryan Hall, American long distance runner, Anna Willard, American middle distance runner,  Josh Cox, fastest marathon on a treadmill.  Running has benefit feeling solitude or being very social.  In California, the elevation is at 8,000 ft.

Q: TO LANCE:  Do you get nervous?

A: I was in Leadville, CO, for the 100 mile off road mountain biking and was so excited. I liked the fact that I was there, I was uncertain of how I was going to do it, but it was a new experience.”

Other comments:

“Butterflies are there for everyone.  I get nervous about being trampled. This is the time to show what I have been working for, it is tough mentally, have a good support team. Keep working on it.  In life there are pumps and drains, expose yourself to as many pumps that you can. Don’t forget that 20 miles is 1/2 way. And the extra .2 is a long way.  There are other finish lines to get to. Never stop dreaming, and pursuing those finish lines.  When you wake up follow normal habits as closely as possible. There are no secrets, no shortcuts, training is hard work. Pace yourself. Miracles don’t happen overnight.  Drink heavily after the race :),  Let body recover, Let your muscles repair afterwards.  Don’t train hard until 2 weeks afterwards. You will need time to get the lactic acid out.  It will take your body one day per mile of the marathon to recover. Consider the first 20 miles as transport, and then start running.”

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