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Memories of Child Draw Easton Woman to Marathon

EASTON, Conn. – The mother of a girl Nancy Muir used to baby-sit asked her for a unique favor: to run the ING New York City Marathon . The Easton woman happily agreed.

Muir is running Sunday’s race to support a charity, Alexandra’s Playground , an organization that builds safe play areas. Muir had been a baby-sitter for the young girl, who died in a boating accident in Long Island Sound in Westport in 2008.  “It’s something that’s very important to me,’’ Muir said. “I adored her daughter and how much energy she had.”

Alexndra’s mother, Andrea, knew she could count on Muir as a person and as a runner. She has run 15 marathons or ultramarathons – “I’ve lost count,’’ she said – and ran a trail marathon earlier this month in Ashford.

Muir’s running journey began at Joel Barlow High School, when she played volleyball and softball. “I started running as training for soccer,’’ she said. “I didn’t miss too many days of running once I got started. I was horrible at softball and volleyball. I had no eye-hand coordination. Running became such solace. I loved being out there on my own. If I was having trouble with something, my parents would say go out for a run, come back and we’ll talk. It’s probably a good thing that it ended up that way.”

Muir’s true passion is running on trails. In the Nipmuck Trail Marathon earlier this month, she finished second in her age group and sixth among 143 finishers. “New York,’’ she said, “is the complete opposite of that.”

Muir, who ran the New York Marathon in 2007, disliked the event at first because of the huge crowds. “I was still trying to make it to the starting line with just a few minutes to go,’’ she said. “I swore off road racing.”

Her feelings changed once she got to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and started to travel through the five boroughs. “It’s just such an amazing event to be part of,’’ Muir said. “The crowds, the support, they’re amazing. You see different neighborhoods. Everybody in the city comes out to watch. It combines all the different cultures. It’s also great when you’re running on the same ground as some of the world’s best athletes. There’s no other sport where that happens.”

Muir enjoys running the trails near the Aspetuck Reservoir and the Trout Brook Reserve in Easton. After this, her next big race is a 50-mile trail run in May. Unlike many competitors, Muir focuses on enjoyment. She is not a slave to her time.

“I don’t have big time goals,’’ she said. “I just let them happen. I’ve never been one to run for time. For me, I look at what else is out there. People are so friendly on the trails, you end up talking to people for at the aid stations and it’s no big deal. I want to always have fun, enjoy the race and wake up the next morning saying, ‘OK , I’m ready to go out for run.’”

To view profiles of other runners from Main Street Connect communities in the marathon, visit our other websites in Fairfield County.

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