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August 31, 2010

Christine Kennedy - World Class Masters Marathoner is In the Hunt

Written by Dena Evans

CK_Sta_Cruz_Finished note:  Christine Kennedy is a recently joined FNF member with decades of top class distance running already under her belt.  She's won major marathons in the mid 2:30's, has been Irish National Champion, and has countless age group and age graded titles to her name.  This fall with the our help, she is hoping to again achieve a fast mark at October's St. George Marathon in Utah. 


This year's Boston Marathon was the reason I decided to seek out a coach and reach my goal.  I won my age division last year (2009) with a 2:46, and one would think I should be satisfied with the result.  However, I knew deep down that I could run faster and so promised myself that I would train like I did years ago.  This year, I got invited to run with the elites.  All I thought about was that I would not have to spend 2 hours in the cold before the event!  So, I did the mileage, and I planned that would race like I did in the past.

My experience at this year's Boston helped me realize that I if I wanted to break the age division record I needed to make changes in my training.  The elite ladies started 9:32 am, while rest of the field started at 10:00am, which meant that we had a small group of fast women and no other competitors to work with through the early miles.  When the 1st mile for me was 6:11 pace, I knew I was in trouble, even as I was third from last last.  My plan was to run 6:35 pace, but  this would have put me last of the elites and I had never experienced being in this position before.  Quickly, I realized that if I was to finish Boston, I would have to slow down and not look at the field disappearing in the distance.

When I got to Wellesley, I was shocked when the girls were screaming [a Boston Marathon tradition - the Wellesley students create a huge cheering section along the course around the mid point of the race].  I seriously thought there were was a group of cute guys behind me like the year before when I was pacing behind the Navy Guys. But, no they were cheering me on and it felt good.

There was a time when I could run with the best, but today I was on my own. I had trained by myself for this event and so I kept reminding myself you can do it.  I did slow down compared to the previous year when I was surrounded with other runners. Then, I felt the energy at 20 miles and I thought it was all downhill, but this time alone I saw all the hills.

" Know Thyself." To run effectively is to train with adequate information.  I realized I was not listening to what my body was trying to tell me. "Know Ourselves."  Get adequate information.  Become the best, otherwise someone else will control the pace.  These are some of the things I was able to reflect on after my experience this spring.

The time is always now.  My concern is the present, and there is no tomorrow!  This is the reason why I decided to take the risk and let you know what my goals are:  This year I will run St George Marathon October 2.  My goal is 2:52, knowing that someone believes in me (Coach Tom!). I also hope to help my club, Tamalpa, win the USATF National Club Cross Country in December [Charlotte, NC, December 11].  Next year, I hope to set the new 50+ age division Boston Marathon record currently held by Ann Roden (2:54:21). 

We all have big goals we hope to achieve, even myself despite being ranked 2nd among US Masters. But, I know need help to achieve my goals.   I found Focus-N-Fly and coach Tom McGlynn, and after just after one session I knew from my years of being with the best coaches in Europe that he could really be the one to help me achieve my aims.  I finally found someone who believes I can do it and I will.....
Last modified on September 14, 2010
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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