Tuesday, December 15, 2009

4 Thunder Road rookies + 1 veteran

To put a nice little bow on my Thunder Road coverage for 2009, here are quickie follow-up reports from the four runners I profiled last week -- plus a brief look back with a local runner who's gone 26.2 at TR every year since it started.

Jen Kushner: 2:50:59. "I was definitely nervous before the race, but wound up having so much fun out there! ... Training for this and completing it was one of my biggest accomplishments to date, and I smile every time I see the medal. And now I'm strongly considering the ING Georgia Marathon in March 2010!"

Kevin Ballantine: 1:42:54. "I was happy to finish in my time goal, actually a few minutes faster than I really thought I could do it. I don't know about a full marathon, but I'm going to think about it. Next time I'm going to try and break 1:40."

Alyson Vaughan: 4:36:51. "S
mashed my goal by over 20 minutes; however, I'm most excited about the fact that I didn't take a single walk break! Others mentioned that the crowd support in the second half is much thinner than the first half, but I thought that the partiers in NoDa and Plaza/Midwood made up for it with their energetic cheering!"

Jonathan Heigel: 4:04:33. "[My race] was a little lackluster. I ran too hot the first 13.1, and [at] 18 miles ... I got hit hard with cramps. I finished, but only after limping through the last eight miles. Rookie mistakes. Good motivation for my next time out!"

Congratulations to each of them -- and to ALL who finished the race. Well done.

* * *

Dianne Allen deserves special kudos for her performance Saturday: First, because she set a personal best last weekend with a 3:47:14, good for third place in her age group. Second, because she's now among a select group of runners who've run every Thunder Road Marathon since the inaugural race in 2005.

And if you don't believe you can get better with age, just look at the now-54-year-old Charlottean's results over the past five years: 2005 -- 4:34:30; 2006 -- 3:58:25; 2007 -- 3:54:31; 2008 -- 3:54:00; and then 2009, when she PR'd by nearly seven minutes on what she says was a "perfect" day weather-wise.

Of her first TR, in 2005, she recalls: "I completed it with two co-workers who were also running their first marathon. The last mile was an energy-filled, incredible feeling all the way to the end, when we finished together. It was hard to believe that I had finished 26.2."

Allen says over the years she's seen support for the big race increase, volunteers become more plentiful, and minor changes that have improved the course. She says her favorite part of the route is running through NoDa -- "The neighborhood crowds are loud and plenty" -- and that the last 2.2 miles are a close second.

Why does she keep coming back to Thunder Road? "What better place to run a marathon than in your hometown, on streets you're familiar with, on a beautiful course?" she says. "I like supporting my hometown race, and this one just gets better and better each year."


Anonymous said...

Dianne Allen is a true gem in the Charlotte running scene (or any scene). She has to be one of the nicest people we know. She always has a kind word to say and is the model of consistency and hard work. Great job Dianne, we all love you.

- The Hadleys

Anonymous said...

Dianne rocks!!!

Anonymous said...

I was there in fall of 2000 when she did her first workout with our group at Freedom Park when she could not jog a mile without a break. Her progression has been a joy to watch. (co-worker Ed)