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May 03, 2011

Christine Kennedy – Boston Marathon Postscript

Written by Dena Evans
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Kennedy_EATBChristine again had an amazing performance, winning the women’s 55-59 age group at the Boston Marathon.  Although she didn’t quite hit her goal of surpassing the all time age group course record of 2:54:21, she improved her 2:57 of 2010 to 2:56 and it motivated her to come back and give it another go next year!

Recovering well and eyeing the World Masters Championship marathon in July, Christine took a few minutes out of her schedule to chat with us.

Coach:  I know you were close to your ultimate goal, but you had a really solid race.  How did you feel out there?

CK:  Well, I died in the last mile and a half.  Had absolutely nothing. Combination of being sick [prior to the race] and a few other things.  I had never felt that way before!  I was afraid to take the electrolyte fluid that day because it doesn’t agree with me and I didn’t want my stomach upset, but in hindsight, that wasn’t a good choice.

I made it to the finish line, and the only way I did it,  was because of what I did the day before.  I went to the finish line, and jogged backwards on the course out about a mile, before turning around and coming into the finish like I would on race day, trying to think about what it would feel like to finish under the banner.   When I got to the Citgo sign [traditional visual landmark on the course, a couple miles from the finish], it took everything I had to get to the finish, but I knew I wanted it.


Coach:  All the talk was about the wind producing fast times out there.  Did you feel the windy conditions?

CK: The wind at the beginning was a crosswind.  I was sweating a lot.  I didn’t feel like we had a tailwind, but I guess we did.

Coach:  You’ve talked about making the choice to run with the main field rather than start ahead with the women’s elite group.  How did that go this year?

CK: I was so happy to go at 10 and have all those people to run with,  and not go with the elite women [half an hour earlier].   I had a couple friends who ran solo like I did, behind the faster women in the elite field and ended up running 3:15 or 3:20.

Coach:  What is next on the calendar for you?

CK:  I want to go to the world masters championship and run the marathon.  I know it will be tough and it will be hot, but I think I will be ready to run another marathon.  I will plan to run some long runs on the course, do things like to go up there for a 20 miler on the course in the heat one evening [the competition will take place in Sacramento this July].

I will run for the US, which will be the first time for that.  We might have a US team, but we wouldn’t have had a team for Ireland [her native country].  So, I am looking forward it!

One of the things about the marathon is that you have people coming in that you have never heard of. So I never take it for granted and just try to prepare to run the best race I possibly can.

Coach:  Is Boston in the cards for next year and what did you learn with this effort?

CK: One of the things that I accomplished was that I went back to Boston with better turnover.  But I didn’t get enough long runs done…I got sick and didn’t get a half marathon. So, I feel like going back to Boston next year, I’d like to start preparing in December instead of January. Last year I was strong, but I didn’t have the turnover. I feel that I can go back next year and put the two together and go for 2:54 again.

Last modified on June 14, 2011
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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