Those Old Grey Mares Just Ain’t What They Used to Be

I think Road Runner ran in the June 28 race in my town. In the women's 40-50 Division.

I think Road Runner ran in the June 28 race in my town. In the women’s 40-50 Division.


I think they’re better.

I ran a small, local race on June 28 before heading into the Big Apple with Colby. (No, I was not hungover for this one – that was during our epic jaunt through Central Park on June 29.) I was a little tuckered for this one, from finally getting in a training ride early that morning for the Pan Mass Challenge. Got back from my ride, friend texted me to see if I would run the race and I was off, with echoes of my mother, circa 1986, saying “And if she asked you to jump off a bridge, would you do that too?” swirling around in my head.

Possibly, Mom, possibly. Especially if there was a finish line at the end.

The race was 2.2 miles and one of a summer series hosted in my town where the races get longer each week, ending with a 10 miler on Labor Day. Very low key. $5 per race. No name – this was the June 28 2.2 mile race. No bibs or chips. When you finish, you get a popsicle stick with your place on it and head over to a table where they write down – with a pencil and paper – your place and all your information. Someone calls out the times as people pass the finish clock and they match your place number with the time called. About as Old School, Low Key as a race can get in 2014.

Apparently, in my town, Low Key Does Not Equal Not Competitive.

Sweet Jesus.

I ran reasonably fast (7.27 pace) and came in 82nd. Yes, I bolted across the finish line and was handed a popsicle stick with the number “82” on it. Placed 82nd out of 216 runners.

Holy Shit, these people are fast. (By way of comparison, if I ran that pace for the Diva Long Island 5K last year, I would have placed 6th out of 1200).

And you know which ones are superfly fast?

Women in the 40-50 age group. Most competitive group of the bunch (women’s division).

I placed 6th in the women 40-50. Had I been in my 30’s, I would have placed 3rd. Had I been in my 20’s, I would have placed 3rd (and I definitely would have been hungover). If I were in my 50’s, I would have placed 4th.

See the trend? We still got it, Ladies!

I have noticed it at a lot of the races I run – women 40-50 is a big and fast age group. I love it. We are not stopping. We are not checking out. We are not slowing down. We are running more and getting faster.

It’s awesome. And inspiring.

Look out, Harriette Thompson. We’re coming for ya!


24 thoughts on “Those Old Grey Mares Just Ain’t What They Used to Be

  1. It is amazing how fast the “older” crowd is. I’m in the M45-49 group for a few more months and they are tough. The M50-54, 50-60 are just as tough. I guess we should see this as encouraging. The entire time I’ve been in to 45-49, 40-49 group I’ve placed 3rd in my age group twice and both times were PRs for me. In other words – I had to run my ass of just to come in 3rd. I’m not complaining about 3rd place, just saying.

    • So true – men’s “masters” & up divisions seem so fast, too! People are just going and going. God Bless our knees! I do think it is encouraging and just need to put aside any hopes of placing in anything!!

  2. I noticed that people are fast in your area when I ran the Pequot Turkey Trot last thanksgiving. My mother-in-law lives in Fairfield (and recently from Southport at the top of that big hill in the Fairfield Half that we go over twice — she moved last year but not before I ran the Fairfield race and had her and my son cheering me at the top of that darned hill as a motivator), so I’ve run a few races and training runs in the area. I’m in your age group too and I was a late runner (started last year at 43), so my eyes goggle when I see some of the times for people in my age range. You do seem to have a large proportion of speedy runners.

    I guess it’s encouraging to know that being in my 40s doesn’t mean I’m dead yet?

  3. Nice! I’m sort of surprised at how competitive the 40-50 women are. I’m going to have to keep running until I’m 80 to get into my age group awards. There’s a woman in Portland who runs with her cane under one arm. She is my hero–maybe I will still be running at 80…

  4. Nice! Love the ‘official’ timing mechanism. You NEVER know who will show up at a race. It’s hit or miss whether I’m on the podium or not. And I can RELATE to the age group crap! It seems like the older I get the tougher the age group. I’d be winning most 20-25 age groups, but I’m lucky if I can place in my own! I guess most runners start late then get great! (oooh, that’s good, don’t steal it)

    • oooh that’s good. But I won’t steal it, since you asked so nicely. I don’t know how I landed in the world of Very Fast People. Possibly because we are essentially a suburb of NYC and everyone is Very Type A (yours truly included, hence my tortured relationship with Yoga. But even the Yogis around here are Very Intense About It). Still. Dayum. Fasty McFastersons everywhere you look. The 20-somethings must be too busy having fun doing other things to be working on their speed.

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