Monday, November 16, 2009

Emily Ward Stars in Cherry Blossom Run

Emily in elite Women pack Cherry Blossom run. George Banker photo Note:
Emily Ward was the fourth women -- and first American -- across the line Saturday November 14 at the 2009 SunTrust Richmond Marathon. Ward, who entered with a personal best of 3:15:14 at the distance, clocked 2:58:46 (6:49/mile pace) on a blustery and deceptively humid morning. Ward hit the halfway mark in fifth place at 1:26:35 (6:36/mile), then moved up to fourth.
For complete results of the 2009 Richmond Marathon,

Ten years ago Emily Ward was a standout at Gloucester Catholic High School (All Parochial Cross Country, Meet of Champions Qualifier 1999). After a standout career at the University of Richmond. Emily has really found her niche racing at the 10k to ten mile distances. Consider: Emily cut 10 minutes from her Broad Street Run time from 2002 to 2007 finishing in 1:00.33 for 12th in the 2007 Broad Street Run. On May 22nd she finished 2nd in 37:26 at the Carryton 10k. George Banker recently interviewed Emily for Runners Gazette Magazine after the 37th Annual Cherry Blossom Race on April 5, 2009:
"Ward hails from Woodbury, New Jersey where she atteneded Gloucester Catholic High School and made the transition from softball to running. While at the University of Richmond, Ward set her PR's in 3K (10:25), 5k(17:53) , and 10k(38:16). In 2009 she received her Masters of Public Administration at Virginia Commonwealth University. Emily, running for the Randolph Park Marathon Project (Richmond, VA) finished in 37th place in 1:02:51. "My plan was to key off Maureen Ackerly(also of Randolph Park) and stay about 10 seconds back at the first mile (5:59 split). I was comfortable with the first mile being faster because I knew the extra adrenaline would be flowing for this race. How often do you have an opportunity to toe the line with a select group of Olympic medalists and world record holders?"
The elite women's start offered a change from the traditional starts as Ward Commented, "I certainly felt like it was such a privilege to start with all the incredible, talented, hard-working world class women athletes. I was truly taking it all in, the first one to two miles when I was only running a few hundred feet behind them. What a thrill. Cruising around the circle (Virginia side across the Memorial Bridge) near Arlington Cemetary watching the pack motor around that in front of me was a neat sight."(note: Lineth Chepkurui, of Kenya was first).

Courtesy Runners Gazette Magazine
George Banker is also the author of "The Marine Corps Marathon" book.

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