Posts Tagged ‘running’

Paula Radcliffe, the winner from England, ran at the young age of 34.

According to the New York Times, women are getting older… and better at sports.

Take for instance this past Sunday’s New York City Marathon, where 41 elite female athletes competed at the average age of 33.

These women were distributed a $301,000 purse, up from $165,000 just a decade ago.

Sunday marked the participation the oldest groups of elite women in the history of the race. Nearly half of the rest of the participants are 35 and older.

2/3 of the runners are 30 years or older including Paula Radcliffe, the winner from England, ran at the young age of 34.

Kara Goucher of the United States (30 years old) came in second, and became the first American woman on the podium since 1994.

Gete Wami of Berlin (33 years of age) finished close behind Goucher.

“It’s unusual to see so many really good women of that age, but this is probably a fluke that they are all so good at once,” Mary Wittenberg, the race director, said. “I do expect to see a changing of the guard because we are probably looking at the end of a superstar generation.”

Experts say that in the 30’s, distance runners are often at their “prime” because their bodies are used to the mileage required to train for the 26.2-mile race. (I can’t even imagine having to run that much. And I’m 23 years old.)

Kara Goucher of the United States came in second. She is 30 years old.

It’s important to note, however, that many of these women only started running marathons only after they had built a foundation in shorter races, to prevent burnout and injuries.

Something that is totally cool is that women are starting to earn more money in marathons.

According to the New York Times, the top five women in Sunday’s race have made at least $1 million in prize money in their careers. The top 10 winners will also receive prize money.

First place is worth $130,000 of the $301,000 purse, second place $65,000, third $40,000, fourth $25,000, fifth $15,000 and so on down to $1,000 for 10th place. In addition, bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $70,000 are paid for reaching certain time standards.

Twenty years ago, though, the total women’s purse in the New York City Marathon was $134,500, organizers said, and a decade ago, it was $165,000.

This is all very cool stuff. I’m glad to see women excelling at such a grueling sport as they enter the prime ages of their lives. And the increase in money over the years is very hopeful.

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It’s extroadinarily exciting to see that someone from your hometown has qualified for the Olympics. On Monday, it was announced that Erin Donahue from Haddonfield, NJ finished second in the U.S. Olympic track and field trials to earn a trip to Beijing.

Erin is living proof that hard work can pay off in the end, and that someone from rural south Jersey can actually make their way to the Olympics.

(From the Philadelphia Inquirer) “I wasn’t one of those runners who sticks out, who you say, ’Oh, she’s going to be an Olympian,’ “Donohue said. “When I graduated (in 2005), I didn’t get a whole lot of attention from shoe companies or agents. I had to work for it. I’ve improved a little each year and it’s got me to where I am now.”

I have known about Erin for about eight or so years now. Erin is from Haddonfield, NJ, the town near where I grew up. I actually played against her in basketball a few times, and was friendly with many of her teammates, who were a part of my AAU basketball program, the Penn Jersey Panthers.

Erin was a GREAT basketball player. But she was always a better runner, a true stand-out athlete. In fact, I frequently saw her run by my house and through the neighboring park on her daily runs. In the end, running is what she pursued. That said, if she wanted to, she could have easily played for a small Division I basketball program.

But I’m sure she’s glad she didn’t do that. Erin went on from high school to run at North Carolina, and now she finds herself headed to Beijing, to run on the world’s greatest stage.

“It feels so good to go out there and execute your plan,” Donohue said. “It’s not like the NCAA or the NFL, where there’s always another season. In track, your focus for four years is the Olympic trials and the Olympics.”

And now she’s got her chance. It’s truly exciting to see this, and you can bet, everyone from south Jersey will be watching the women’s 1,500.

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Saturday morning, I was among the 50,000 participants in the Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure, a 5K event held in Washington, DC. The event raised $4.9 million to fund the breast cancer research community health programs for the medically underserved in the National Capital area.

Next year, the event will be named the “Susan G. Komen Global Race For the Cure,” as the event is now a global leader in the breast cancer movement.

It was a hot one on Saturday morning — temperatures reached a high of 98 degrees. With 50,000 sweaty bodies around you, I’d say it feels like that temperature almost doubles. And for some reason, when you’re on the National Mall, it feels hotter than ever.

But I got it in in about 30 minutes. 10 minute mile with a delayed start and extraordinary heat — not too bad.

Seeing all those people come out for this event really says something. With all those people at the event, it shows great support — but it also means that breast cancer is a real problem in this country.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 182,460 women in the United States will be found to have invasive breast cancer in 2008. About 40,480 women will die from the disease this year. Right now there are about two and a half million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

Taking action by participating in events such as the Komen Race for the Cure or the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life shows support toward a better future. I’d like to congratulate all the survivors, individuals, companies and sponsors for participation and support.

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