Running history often notes Roberta Gibb and Kathrine Switzer as among the first American women to run a marathon. However, seven years before Gibb hid in the bushes and snuck into the Boston Marathon in 1966 and eight years before Switzer ran Boston as K.V. Switzer in 1967, Arlene Pieper had finished the Pikes Peak Marathon in 1959. Pieper not only completed one of America’s most challenging marathons, but also became the first official female finisher of a marathon in the United States. Equally impressive was Arlene’s daughter, Kathy, who ran with her mom that day. Kathy reached the summit in a time of 5:44:52, becoming the youngest competitor at that point to finish the race to the summit.
We first met Arlene and Kathy in 2010 at the Pikes Peak Marathon, and we have enjoyed reuniting with them each year since. Every year, both Arlene and Kathy meet new runners at the Pikes Peak expo, and Arlene signs countless photos of her on the summit of Pikes Peak in 1959. Read more about Arlene and/or order a personalized, autographed photo by visiting her website at Arlene Pieper.
In our September/October Special Book Bonus, Going Far by Joe Henderson, Joe tells us about his “most perfect marathon” and his “personal worst” – 25 years apart but in the same marathon, Avenue of the Giants.
As runners, we all know that the marathon day will come when things don’t go as planned. Joe writes: “If you want to know the runner you really are, not the one you once were or imagine yourself becoming, enter a marathon. Any marathon will do, and this one happened to be the Avenue. Running among the ancient redwoods always cuts you down to size, but never more than when I returned to this marathon for the first time in 20 years.”
In 1992, Joe had what he names his “PW” at this marathon, but as he says in his book, “…these were ‘worsts’ only by the clock. Marathoners can say of finishes what pilots say of their flights: any you can walk away from is a good one, no matter how rough the journey.”
On our Facebook page, we asked our “friends” about their PW’s. Here are their responses.
John Russell: Running a marathon in June with a fever and dry cough. Even stuffed full of meds, I ran out of energy at mile 12 and had to walk most of the last 14 miles in the blazing sun. Cuz I was stupid and stubborn and refused to DNF.
David Corfman: I’m was a 2:58 marathoner at the time, but completed the Pike’s Peak Marathon in 8:45, having contacted acute mountain sickness at elevation.
Shelton Clark: Yeah, I guess DNF (which I did at the Marine Corps Marathon last year) is worse than my PW finishing time (7:25 at the Loonies Midnight Marathon this past July), because finishing at a slowest-ever time, while mostly abject misery, was way better than taking another DNF.
Meredyth Fasulo: My PW was at the WDW Princess Half Marathon this year. I usually run about a 2-hour half. This year the Princess was warm and so humid you could see fog all day. I decided to take more walk breaks and get character pictures. I came in at 2:16. However, it was great because at the finish I got to help 2 strangers cross the line. One thanked me after finishing saying I helped her reach a PR by my words of encouragement.
Bill Khan: 4:42 Boston Marathon in the heat in 2012. Qualified in 3:18. My worst marathon outside of my two Bostons is 3:26. My PR before then was 3:11. Yeah, it pretty much sucked. I passed out and wound up in the med tent afterward. First-half split was 1:58. Second-half split was 2:44. Everyone suffered that day; I suffered worse than most.
Tonya Coe Stephenson: 3rd half marathon in four weeks. It was 37F and raining. Not misting, raining. By mile 4, I was over it. Just over it. Oh, and it was a LOOP. I went right by my car at mile 6.5. But I trudged on. Worst time ever. The race was on streets that weren’t closed, so we also had to deal with traffic. Bad enough the feet were wet, but the last 100 yards or so were in a field, so the feet got muddy, too. I persevered. Finished 5th from last in a blazing time of 2:51:57. For a half-marathon. Just call me Speedy.
Donald Rioux: By ‘DNF’ing a bucket list race because I didn’t train as well as I should’ve. Went down with cramps and had to wait for the sweep vehicle to carry me to the end.
Thanks to our FB friends for their honest responses. If you’d like to read more of Going Far by Joe Henderson, click here to subscribe.
Guest blogger, Richard Nerurkar, was a British international marathoner in the 1990s (PR of 2:08:36) before working as an event organizer in Ethiopia where he set up the Great Ethiopian Run. He now works and lives in Brighton, UK.
If you’re a keen marathon runner and curious to experience first-hand the land of long-distance running, why not check out the opportunity to take part in a marathon where runners and running never goes by unnoticed. Not only will you get to meet one of the greatest runners of all time; you’ll also get to see why marathon running has come to mean so much to this great distance-running nation. In this instance, it is surely true that seeing is believing.
The Haile Gebrselassie Marathon takes place in Hawassa, Ethiopia on Sunday October 20, 2013. For more details visit www.hailemarathon.com
It’s a curious thing that while marathon running worldwide continues its upward curve at a mass-participation level, at the elite level viewed worldwide performances are steadily declining. The striking exception to this global trend is found in the two African countries which for the past thirty years have been the powerhouse of world distance running: Kenya and Ethiopia.
Here are a few statistics to ponder:
- In the past 45 years, British runners have recorded 37 marathon times of under 2 hours and 10 minutes, but only one of these (of 2:09:31 by Jon Brown in 2005 while he was still running for Britain) was achieved in the past 10 years. Over the same 45-year period US marathon runners have run 34 sub-2:10 times with 15 of these performances achieved in the past 10 years.
Continue reading » The Land of Runners
Produced and copyright 2013 by Marathon & Beyond Magazine. Read by Kelly Jean Badgley.
This is a general audio guide you can use for mental training for a marathon. Please do not listen to this recording while driving, operating heavy machinery, or doing anything that requires your conscious attention.
Dr. David Asp is a Licensed Psychologist, member of the American Psychological Association, and a specialist in sports psychology. He has additional training in clinical hypnosis and is member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
Dr. Asp is a former Certified Level One Coach for the US Triathlon Association, and has worked with elite level marathon runners, including two who competed in the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials.
The visualization technique presented in this audio is an example of the extensive mental preparation experience Dr. Asp uses in working with athletes and sports teams at all levels and of all ages. Plus, he has his own endurance sports experience in 14 marathons, 3 Ironmans, and 26 cross-country ski marathons.
A few important notes:
- This information is intended for educational purposes only, not as medical advice.
- It is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness.
- Your results, if any, will vary.
- Always check with your doctor before changing your exercise or health program.
- Last, if using this program creates any discomfort at any time, discontinue its use.
Click on the image above or the link below to download the .mp3 file. It may take several minutes to download.
If you would like to know more about Dr. Asp and his consultation with athletes, including personalized training and performance enhancement visualization recordings, you can e-mail him: DAASP@charter.net. Also, you can connect with Dr. Asp on his Facebook page @ Dr. David R. Asp Sports Psychology.
The documentary film “Spirit of the Marathon II” will be showing in over 600 theaters nationwide through fathomevents.com for one night only on Wednesday, June 12th at 7pm (local time). A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to The One Fund Boston to assist those affected by the tragic events at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
In this highly anticipated sequel to the 2008 award winning documentary, “Spirit of the Marathon II” focuses on seven inspiring individuals whose lives will forever be transformed by the experience of running 26.2 miles through the historic streets of Rome, Italy. The audience will get an “up close and personal” look into the runners’ lives and the challenges they face – both physical and emotional – on an epic journey where finishing the Rome Marathon is anything but certain.
Thanks for all your help in spreading the word about the film and please go to fathomevents.com and type in your zipcode to find the theater nearest you.