This is the sixth in an ongoing series of short profiles highlighting an ardent local running enthusiast. Up today: 63-year-old KATHY SEAVERS, an oncology nurse who has posted age-group wins at several recent local races, including the Firecracker 5K (24:25), the King Tiger 5K (24:32), and the Great Harvest Bread Co. 5K (24:25).
I met Kathy at the Great Harvest Bread race on May 2, when she finished 92nd overall out of 413 total runners. Only one other woman over the age of 60 completed the 3.1-mile race that day -- and Kathy beat her by more than 18 minutes.
When and why did you start running: I quit smoking in the early '80s, and running helped me get through it.
How long had you been a smoker? I started smoking in nursing school at about 18 years old, and I quit after about 17 years in 1980. I started running soon after and became hooked on running. It helped me avoid the pitfall of weight gain after smoking. Running gave me the willpower to stay away from tobacco.
What makes you a good runner? I have fun with it, and I am competitive and determined.
What would make you a better runner? Move me back 10 years.
Favorite annual N.C. race: Turkey Trot 8K [annual Thanksgiving race in SouthPark].
Favorite distance: Half-marathon.
PR for that distance: About 1:44.
Running moment you'll never forget: My best Boston Marathon: April 15, 2002 in 3:59:03 [chip time]. This was my first Boston Marathon [not her first marathon, though]. I just wanted to finish. ... I felt really good at mile 10; I was wearing down at 20, and the last six were a struggle. By the way, after the race, I was told that Charlotte runners would meet at the Rattlesnake Bar [on Boylston Street]. When I walked in, still in running clothes, and with my medal around my neck, I saw that I was the only runner in the bar -- others probably came earlier. I got a standing ovation and several drinks.
Running moment you'd like to forget: In 2006, when I tripped at McAlpine Creek Park and broke my right shoulder and left elbow.
Are you disappointed/surprised that there's not more competition in your age group? I just try to compete as best I can with younger runners.
Any interesting reactions from younger runners when they find out that you're faster than them? I was first overall female in a race in Cherryville a few years ago. (My husband) Larry and I walked by a group of young girls and women, and we overheard one ask the others if they saw the age of the female winner.
What advice would you give to other runners your age who are struggling with, well, their age? Ignore the age. Never give up.
Do you ever see yourself "retiring" from running? No way, Jose!
What's next on your race calendar? The Bele Chere 5K Run in Asheville on Saturday.
Know of another running fool? Tell me about him or her in an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.