In 2012 Cheryl Cleary returned to racing after a multi-year hiatus in which she was blessed with four wonderful children. With her youngest two years old, she decided to launch her comeback—on the treadmill. With a safely gated playroom nearby, Cleary logs almost all of her miles in the basement with her children only a Lego’s throw away. Funny how a parent can run for ten miles while never more than ten feet away from her children. Not all her runs, however, are in this arrangement. Cleary says, “I always get outdoors for my Sunday long run and for my late week speed session when the weather is nice.” She admits that she cherishes these speed workouts as they account for much of her success, “I LOVE running on the track because I can focus without obstacles and pour all that I have into my workout.”
Yes, 2013 solidified Cleary’s comeback but it also marked her last year as an open runner. For the first time in her life she competed in the USATF-NE Grand Prix Series. In short, she was dominant. Cleary almost can’t believe her own accom-plishments on the roads. She says, “I felt that if I finished in the top twenty-five in any of those races, I was doing great. I never dreamt that I would finish the entire series ranked second place. Let alone win the 30k Championship in Nahant.”
Cleary’s prosperity could be, in part, due to the enlistment of Coach Kevin Beck whom she began working with in 2013. She says, “[H]e put me on the track to gain strength and speed and to push myself at the right times by introducing very specific workouts that were both creative and fun.” Those workouts paid dividends as seen by some of her 2013 highlights:
2013 USATF-NE Grand Prix Iron Runner and 2nd Place Open Division Year End Finisher
3rd overall, Cox Communications Providence Marathon (May)
17:36, Hollis Fast 5K, USATF-NE GPS (June)
30:39, 8th overall, Carver Cranberry 5 Miler, USATF-NE GPS (July)
17:40, Canal Diggers 5k (September) (PR & CR)
37:03, 7th overall, Lone Gull 10K, USATF-NE GPS, (September) (PR)
A newly minted master in 2014, Cleary has set her sights on the Boston Marathon. Her status updates on Facebook will inform you that she is already hard at work in her preparations. Her ultimate goal: sub 2:55. We think she can do it.
Outside of running, Cleary works part time as a medical technologist. In her free time (does a mother of four have any free time?!), she enjoys cooking, hanging out with friends, and of course playing with her kids.
This article originally appeared in the Mar/Apr 2014 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen).