FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Richard Finn
Loken Defends More Marathon Title
Event Celebrates Women's Achievements and Camaraderie
NEW YORK - (March 26, 2006) - Sunday dawned damp and chilly in Central
Park. Only a few daffodils were open, the grass wasn't green and the grays
and browns of trees predominated. But on this morning, a stream of bright
color flowed through the dull landscape: Close to 4,000 runners and
walkers, all women, most age 40 or over, were taking part in the third
annual More Marathon. Their red, yellow, purple, pink and blue running
jackets were brilliant amidst the damp tree trunks and asphalt paths. The
runners' spirits shone brightly, too.
"The atmosphere is so relaxed and everyone is having so much fun," said
More Marathon spokeswoman Grete Waitz, one of the most decorated athletes
in running history.
If the colors didn't tell you this was a race for women-only, the racers'
demeanor did. "They never stop talking!" Waitz exclaimed.
There was a reason for that: The More Marathon is actually two races: a
full 26.2-mile marathon open only to women age 40 and over, and a
half-marathon, featuring teams of two women, one of whom must be at least
40. Thanks to this unique feature, many of the runners were concerned with
not only their own performances, but those of their fellow participants as
In many cases competitors didn't have to look far to find someone with a
t-shirt or jacket just like their own. A number of women traveled to New
York with a training group or running club, such as the 90 members of
Michigan's Team Playmaker - a team that's entered close to 100 women in
each of the three editions of this race. Twenty Mercury Masters suited up
for the half-marathon; this New-York based group comprises women over age
50 who have, among them, competed in 200 marathons worldwide. The More
Marathon is near and dear: "This race gives us an opportunity to run with
like-minded women," said Ilene Kent.
Often, the teammate was a mother, sister, aunt or niece. Mary Ehmann, age
43, partnered with her 14-year-old daughter, Emily, and won the 52-59 age
group. "Hey, catch up to Mom!" yelled brother Paul as he, another brother,
Peter, and their father, cheered from the sidelines on East Drive.
Though there was a sprinkling of young women took part, it was a day for
the wiser, older version of the sex. "It's invigorating to know that women
our age can do it all," said Janet Beal, 50, a half-marathon competitor who
started running a year ago. Seventy-three-year-old Jeanette Cyr was entered
in the 13.1-mile event; she has 59 marathons under her belt and was using
this race as a bellwether for her 2006 Boston Marathon effort.
Aging well is a theme that More magazine and these competitors embrace.
"Running used to be the center of our universe," said a runner who came
from Binghamton, New York, with her training group.
"Now we're over 40 and our times are getting slower, but it doesn't
matter." Peggy Jewitt, 48, agrees. "The age thing takes some pressure off,"
Still, this is Central Park, and running multiple loops over the undulating
terrain is not your average Sunday stroll. Plenty of runners had
finish-time goals and worked hard to achieve them.
"Those inclines were pretty bad, especially between miles 24 and 25," said
Jewitt, who was celebrating her birthday, and finished sixth in 3:28:46,
while Susan Loken of Phoenix, Ariz. defended her More Marathon title in
Waitz and another running legend, Lynn Jennings, watched as walkers,
runners, half-marathoners, marathoners, first-timers and veterans merged
into a colorful parade of accomplished, athletic women. "Just think if you
were a woman in petticoats and corsets who traveled forward in time and saw
these women," Jennings mused. "You'd feel like you were on a different
planet!" The More Marathon is a powerful reminder that this kind of race
can take place in our time, on our planet.
3rd More Marathon
New York, NY, Sunday, March 26, 2006
1) Susan Loken, 42, AZ, 2:50:01
2) Doreen McCoubrie, 44, PA, 2:52:31
3) Stephanie Hodge, 40, NY, 2:57:33
For full marathon and half-marathon results, go to: www.NYRR.org