353385_661_1219146488309dita_2008_rConstantina Tomescu-Dita earned a number of firsts yesterday as she ran her way to gold in the women’s marathon at the Olympics: She’s the first Romanian and the oldest woman, at age 38, to win gold.

Tomescu-Dita pulled away from the pack, filled with running stars including Paula Radcliffe, around mile 13, and maintained such a blistering pace that the commentators I heard remarked numerous times that she couldn’t maintain her lead for the rest of the race. But the determined runner didn’t "hit the wall," instead she held such a large lead that at times she couldn’t see anyone behind her. She finished in 2:26:44, beating out the expected medal favorites including American Deena Kastor, who dropped out of the race at mile three because of a foot injury.

Tomescu’s victory is a notable one because she ran her own bold race, instead of sticking with the pack and expert strategy. She told Runner’s World, "I thought,'(the pace) is too slow, and I must push faster.’ I didn’t care what the group was going (to do) … this is a gold
medal, you know?"

—Kristin Harrison