Determination can take a runner a long way. It took Westport's Kathy Muro all the way to Boston.
Muro will run the Boston Marathon for the first time next month. She had qualified for the race previously but missed it with an injury. Forced to qualify again, Muro missed meeting her four-hour standard by about eight minutes in the 2009 Hartford Marathon. But she made it to Boston last fall, when she ran 3:57:54 in the Bay State Marathon in Massachusetts. After eight years of running, she finally made it to the recreational runner's grand stage.
"I was determined to qualify for Boston,'' says Muro, who has nine marathons on her sneakers. After participating in few of the larger and more notable races, she realized that she was better off selecting courses and races in terms of time. "You are much more efficient as a runner if you don't have to dance around a lot of people and waste a lot of energy."
Besides injuries, Muro's running career has also been beset by bad luck. In the Chicago Marathon in 2007, she was in the 25th mile when organizers stopped the race because of 90-degree heat. She practically had to be pulled off the course. "Police came over and said, 'You can stop running now,''' Muro said. "I told them I didn't want to, but they said I had to walk. I'd never heard of a race being canceled."
Undeterred, Muro bounced back six days later and ran the Hartford Marathon in a personal record 3:54:33, earning a ticket to Boston. However, injuries resulting from the two consecutive races prevented her from running Boston in 2008.
Muro had started to run when she sustained an injury kickboxing. "I had tennis elbow, and after a year of cortisone shots they told me no upper-body workouts. That's when I took up running,'' she said. Her first marathon was the ING New York City Marathon in 2005, when she ran 4:32.40.
She follows a training program designed by Hal Higdon, a famous running author. She has been incorporating speed workouts, hills and distance into her training. The only thing left for Muro is to finally make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston.
"I'm looking forward to running in a large, supported race in a city that really understands it,'' Muro said. "There's nothing like that in terms of motivation."
Muro, a married mother of two teenage daughters and owner of an interior design business, takes pride in her accomplishment. Less than 1 percent of all runners can qualify for Boston. "I like a good challenge,'' Muro said. "This is something I do for myself. When you're a mother and a wife and a business owner, you end up doing a lot of things for other people. I totally own this. It's mine, and no one else can touch it. I do this just for me."
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