2004 Race Day News and Results

More than 2,600 race in first-ever event for women 40+.

By Evita N. Torre

A Historical EventMore than 2,600 women, including one each from Brazil, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas, a large contingent from Canada, and participants from many states around the country, crossed the finish line in Central Park, New York City, on Sunday, March 21, in the first annual MORE Marathon.The full marathon winner, a surprise finisher who overtook the race leader at the 21-mile mark, was Marie Murphy, 44, of Sherman Oaks, California, with an official time of 3:04:03."This has been a great day for me," Murphy said at the winner’s podium. "I haven’t run a marathon in 12 years. This is the start of something big, not just for us who ran today but for the women coming up behind us. It was because of this marathon that I decided to get back into marathon running."Behind Murphy in the full marathon event were Roxie Erikson, 41, of Omaha, Nebraska, with a time of 3:10:18, and Beth Moras, 45, of New Jersey, with a time of 3:11:15.The winners in the 13.1-mile half-marathon, set up as a team event in which one participant had to be at least 40 and the second woman could be of any age, were: Sue Pierson, 40, of Neenah, Wisconsin, and Heather May, 33, of Bloomington, Indiana, with a combined finishing time of 2:48:50.Pierson and May met each other on a Web site devoted to marathon runners and serious runners. They had not met one another face-to-face until the MORE Marathon weekend."It is the first all-woman race I’ve had the chance to run outside of a couple of open track meets," said May, just minutes after crossing the finish, as she waited for her partner to finish. Pierson finished individually in fourth place in the half-marathon and May finished in second, before the team tallies put them in first place together.In first place individually in the half marathon was Catherine Casey, who entered the event with her mother. And in third place individually was Eleanor Williamson, 32, of Brooklyn, New York, with a time of 1:26:15. Williamson entered with Marie Wickham, 49, of New York City, whose individual time was 1:33:03. Third-place team finishers were Wendy Locke, 42, of Boonton, New Jersey, with a time of 1:36:38, and Angie Dello, 42, of Whippany, New Jersey.New York Road Runners, which ran the event in cooperation with MORE magazine, reported that three women over the age of 65 had finished the full marathon. They are:Helen Klein, 81, of California, 4:49:52Theresa Fanelli, 72, of Ohio, 4:21:05Evelyn David, 66, of New Jersey, 4:31:40A Race Is BornThe idea for the MORE Marathon was born last year, the brainchild of MORE magazine editor-in-chief Susan Crandell and MORE vice-president and publisher Jeannine Shao Collins. "We wanted an event that expressed the spirit of MORE‘s April 2004 issue on adventure," said Crandell. "And women in this age group are terrific endurance athletes."MORE magazine and MORE.com celebrate the 40+ woman and host events designed to highlight women’s physical beauty, athletic strength, and leadership qualities. The MORE/Wilhelmina Model Contest is in its fifth year.On hand for the event, cheering women of all ages during the races and celebrating at a ceremony hours after first-place finishers crossed the finish line, were the two spokeswomen for the MORE Marathon, Kathrine Switzer and Grete Waitz."I think women over 40 are unbelievable. They’ve been training all year for this moment, and twenty years ago I would have been excited about the all-women’s nature of an event like this," said 50-year-old Waitz, a nine-time winner of the New York City Marathon. "This event shows that age has no limit."Switzer, 56, who lives just blocks from Central Park in New York City, grinned and cheered as she watched one woman after another finish the event. "This marathon is unique because there’s no sense of intimidation," Switzer said. "After many years of barriers, of ageism and sexism, this marathon shows that the barriers have fallen. Women can do anything." Switzer, a winner of the 1974 New York City Marathon, was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon wearing official numbers.Joining Switzer and Waitz in their support of the MORE Marathon was the star of Joan of Arcadia, Mary Steenburgen. "These women here today are examples for us mothers, for our daughters, for all of us," Steenburgen said. "They’re not running against each other.

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