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UjENA FIT Club 100 Interesting Running Articles

Best Road Races and the UjENA FIT Club is publishing 100 articles about races, training, diet, shoes and coaching.   If you would like to contribute to this feature, send an email to Bob Anderson at bob@ujena.com .  We are looking for cutting edge material.

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Pritz's Honor
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By David Prokop, editor Best Road Races The world’s most unusual race met the world’s most beautiful place, in the... Read Article

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Monday, October 8th, 2012
Stomach cramps thwart record attempt in the Chicago Marathon, but Kennedy still sets a world best for any woman 57 or older.
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by Dave Prokop 

Sunday, Oct. 7 – Stomach cramps from 10 miles on dashed Christine Kennedy's hopes of breaking the women's world marathon record of 2:52:14 for the 55-59 age group today at the Chicago Marathon.

Still the gritty 57-year-old distance marvel from the San Francisco Bay Area hung on to finish in 2:56:04 to win her age group.

Someone told her afterwards her time, hampered though she'd been, set a new world marathon best for any woman 57 or older, but she paid little notice since it wasn't the record she had in mind. In fact, Best  Road Races.com has confirmed Christine is the first woman 57 or older to run under 3 hours for the marathon – and she did it while suffering cramps the last 16 miles of the race! The previous best by a woman 57 or older was 3:04:59, set by Japanese runner Miyo Ishigami way back on Jan. 26, 1992.

“I think I didn't pay enough attention to what I ate the last few days before the race,” Christine said after her Chicago race in offering an explanation for the stomach cramps. “I stayed with friends in Chicago and I had things like raisin bread and walnuts. I never eat that kind of stuff. It's a lesson learned. You really have to watch what you eat the last few days before a marathon.”

Comments and Feedback
run Really good point on the diet thing. Great job anyway!!
Bruce Gilbert 10/8/12 12:09 pm
run Always the warrior!
Richard Stiller 10/8/12 1:32 pm
run Wow Boston 2013 is shaping up to be a very interesting race for a number of reasons and Christine versus Joan will be very interesting. Debating whether to run it again or help on the sidelines.
Roger Wright 10/9/12 7:06 am

Christine had planned to run a negative split race in which she started out with 6:30-6:38 miles and ran faster at the end. She felt comfortable at 6:36-6:38 pace the first 8-9 miles, but when the stomach cramps hit at 10 miles, the rest of the race turned into a real ordeal for her.

“I did finish,” she said afterwards, “but it was rough. It's the hardest race I've run in a long time.”

Compliments that her 2:56:04 while suffering cramps for more than half the distance was a remarkable performance didn't seem to diminish her disappointment.

“What makes it frustrating is I know I'm better than 2:56,” she said.

This was clearly a case of what might have been, and Christine knew it.

“In the shape I'm in, I think I was capable of running 2:50 today. Definitely!

“My coach (Tom McGlynn) was very disappointed in my time. I told him not to blame himself, the training was perfect, I'm in the best shape I've ever been in, it just wasn't my day because I had the stomach issue.”

Christine's next chance to go for the 55-59 age group record will be next spring at the Boston Marathon, where she's won that age group the last four years. The 5'1”, 98-pound native of Ireland will be 58 by then, and the 55-59 age group at Boston next year will be particularly interesting because none other than 1984 Olympic marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson will be there and apparently racing fit and record focussed.

Before yesterday's race Christine talked to Joan in Chicago, who told her she plans to run Boston and hopes to break 2:52 there.

“She was surprised that's what I hoped to run here,” Christine said later of their conversation. “So it looks like we'll be racing head to head at Boston. We know how hard it is (for someone our age) to run 2:52. But that will be a great chance to get the record.”

Christine, who is a member of the Ujena Fit Club, will be a participant in the Double, or Double Road Race (a 10K, followed by a 5K),  to be held in Pleasanton, Calif. Dec. 23. In fact, she will head her own team of three in the competition, which will be the first Double to be held on American soil. Six Doubles have been held thus far in Mexico, where the Ujena Swimwear Company stages a lot of promotional events.


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