Marathoners: fit folk at the back of the pack

Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:02am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - No doubt the running stars will shine when they sail to victory on Sunday in the New York City Marathon. But not everyone can be the leader of the pack.

With more than 40,000 runners expected to cross the finish line of the ING New York Marathon many will be happy to bring up the rear.

"My goal is to finish the marathon," said Marie Spodek, of Woodbourne, New York. "My second goal is not to be the last in my age group."

Spodek is running her first marathon at age 66.

She is one of 781 seniors who will tackle the 26.2-mile run through the five boroughs, according to New York Road Runners, which stages the annual event.

"It's not going to be fast," Spodek said of her race, which she'll run with both knees bandaged. "I'll be out there for between six and 13 hours. My husband will be stationed at about 13 miles with hummus because I've got to arrange for food."

Spodek is fitness-conscious. She has studied yoga in India and favors grass-fed meat and whole grains. But she thinks marathon training has elevated her to top form, mentally and physically.

"I've been more pleasant to my children, more tolerant with my mother. I've dropped two jean sizes, and I think I can see better," she said.   Continued...

<p>Paula Radcliffe (C) of England and other competitors start the New York City Half-Marathon in New York August 16, 2009. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky</p>