1985: Running Business

When I began my serious pursuit of athletics in 1976/77, I could hardly imagine where it would lead. Would I ever become capable of winning the Boston Marathon or making the Olympic Team? I thought a lot about it on my cross country excursion in 1977 and became determined to pursue this dream “quest.”

I was fortunate to establish a relationship with an athletic shoe company and had the support of my running club, the GBTC. I worked in a retail athletic shoe store for two years and also had established a shoe re-soling business.

This led in 1985 to an opportunity to become head of Running Promotions for an athletic shoe company. I had been working part time as an assistant to the head of Running Promotions for this same shoe company for a couple of years. In 1984 the company had made a major promotions effort at the Los Angeles Olympics. This was followed in 1985 by a major cut back in promotions in 1985, just as I was taking over. It was not a great situation for myself or for the athletes I would be working with.

My own running was on the back-burner. It would be the only year between 1977 and 1988 when I did not run a marathon. I did have a fairly solid year and when I decided that the athletic shoe company business was not what I wanted to do I felt I could return to the running wars through 1988, hopefully and run better than I ever had.

Most of 1985’s racing was low key but I did point for the National Cross Country to be held in Raleigh NC. Training and racing went well and when I won the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh in October I felt that I was in pretty solid shape for Nationals. Unfortunately at the National I was spiked in the first quarter mile of the race by my teammate Steve Lacy! My shoe was torn off at the heal. Most everyone was wearing long spikes on the muddy course. I stopped in shock after putting out a hand signal and pulling over to the side. I pulled the shoe back on though because it was ripped it continued to flap around and threaten to come off in the mud for the remainder of the race.

As I began running again after stopping for the first time I was in dead last place and the first person I passed was wearing headphones. He must have mistaken the National for a local road race. I worked my way up throughout the race and wound up sprinting to the finish with, of all people, Steve Lacy! My man who had spiked me! I finished 27th and consider it to be perhaps my finest cross country race ever. At the end of 85 I left my shoe company position and enrolled at the University Of Lowell to finish my undergraduate degree. I was also hired as the Women’s Head Cross Country and Track Coach. I was interested in pursuing college coaching and went to school part-time only in 1986 so that I could accommodate the coaching, my own running and my studies.

My athletic shoe company had given me a small contract and with my coaching salary and my earnings from running related activities, racing, clinics etc. I was able to “get by.” I knew at the end of 1985 that my athletic career was peaking and I was determined to take advantage of every opportunity.