Yes, Elite Runners’ First Marathons Are Just Like Yours

No matter the time on the clock, the memories of your first 26.2 last forever.

These Olympic Trials–bound women share their first marathon memories.

deena kastor

Deena Kastor
43, Mammoth Lakes
First Marathon: New York City

I chose New York because I wanted to have a great experience without the expectation of posting a fast time. It was unfortunate that the events of 9/11 happened while I was training for it, but spectacular that the city revitalized itself to host the world for the marathon. It was an emotional and patriotic day for the racers and the city itself—the starting line abuzz with anxious runners, but not without notice of the empty space in the NY skyline. The finish line was intoxicating and gave me the hook to continue to seek progress in the marathon distance.

Related: 5 Questions With Deena Kastor

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Lenore Moreno
25, West Covina
First Marathon: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego

Being that it was my first marathon, I never practiced how to refuel during the race. I was so scared to grab some sort of gel and ruin my chances by getting sick, so I felt pretty crappy come miles 20 to 26. That was a huge mistake! I thought for sure I wouldn’t have a chance at making the qualifying standard. However, coming down the last half mile I could see the clock. I couldn’t believe it! I said a quick prayer in my head, giving thanks to the Lord and crossed the finish line in tears of joy!