The 2007 MORE Marathon and Half-Marathon

The MORE Magazine Marathon and Half-Marathon race for women runners over 40 was held in New York’s Central Park on March 25, 2007.

By Wendy Rodewald
The top-three marathon finishers (left to right), Peggy Nelson-Panzer, Gordon Bakoulis, and Susan Loken are joined by Loken’s proud mother.

Running in Record Numbers

Over the hill? Hardly. The only hills that the 2007 MORE Marathon and Half-Marathon participants climbed on March 25th were those that comprised the course. The race boasted a record turnout in its fourth consecutive year, with more than 6,000 women gathering in New York City’s Central Park to celebrate fitness — and to prove how fabulous 40+ can be.

The volume of participants demonstrated that the can-do attitude is catching on. "The major thing for me is just how wonderfully this event is growing," MORE Editor-in-Chief Peggy Northrop remarked. "That is really a testament to how necessary the magazine is, and how the magazine represents a sense of community for women." This brand of team spirit made a strong showing at the race, as women of all ages joined to run, walk, and cheer each other along the respective 26.2- and 13.1-mile courses. The full marathon is a one-of-a-kind event, held exclusively for female runners 40 and up. Women under 40 are permitted to run the half-marathon with a 40+ partner.

Showing Their Support

The event’s host, Mariel Hemingway, actress and author of Mariel Hemingway’s Healthy Living from the Inside Out (HarperSanFrancisco), proudly proclaimed that her post-40 years have been the best ones of her life. "I’ve never felt better," she asserted. As 40+ women, "we have been encouraged to be healthy and to take responsibility for our bodies, our minds, and our spirits, and I think that truly, it’s no joke — it’s not just marketing. I just think it’s so powerful that [the participants] are out here."

Ms. Hemingway joined the crowd who watched as breathless runners crossed the finish line, nearly all wearing smiles on their faces. Families, friends, and fans showed up to support the participants, including The Sopranos star Steve Schirripa (who plays Bobby Bacala), whose wife Laura ran the MORE marathon for the third time. "She runs five days a week," he said, "and she’s been doing a great job. I got up early and I’m here" to encourage her. Leading the cheering section was Kathrine Switzer, who broke the gender barrier as the first woman to run the Boston marathon and who maintains a strong belief in supporting fellow runners. "A marathon is a long way, and there are many lonely training miles," she explained. "So encouragement means a tremendous amount" to marathoners.

Mary Wittenberg, President and CEO of New York Road Runners, which co-sponsored the race, explained that this sense of camaraderie makes the MORE Marathon and Half-Marathon unique: "Everyone’s out there together, taking on the tough hills, showing the world what [women over 40] can do — it’s really a metaphor for life."

Winners and Results

Leading the pack of participants was third-time winner Susan Loken, 43, of Phoenix, Arizona, who finished the marathon in 2:47:52. New York City’s own Gordon Bakoulis, 46, followed in second place with a time of 3:11:24, and Peggy Nelson-Panzer, 45, of Aurora, Colorado, took third with a time of 3:16:55. The 13.1-mile half-marathon saw Lyubov Denisova, 35, also from New York, cross the finish line first with a time of 1:16:49. Second place went to Claudia Camargo, 35, of Danbury, Connecticut, who finished in 1:17:27, while Trina Painter, 40, of Flagstaff, Arizona, came in third with a time of 1:19:10.

The MORE Marathon and Half-Marathon was sponsored by California Raisin Marketing Board, Florida Department of Citrus, Speaking of Women’s Health, and St. Joseph Aspirin.

Originally published on MORE.com, March 2007.

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