As we turn our attention to this weekend’s big event, the New Bedford Half Marathon, we’d be remiss to overlook this story. Sarah Prescott will be running her 100th consecutive USATF-NE Grand Prix race. From an excellent piece that appeared in a USATF-NE blog post:
A runner since 1978, Sarah started entering Grand Prix races in 2000 when the club team she was a member of participated in the team competition. Motivated by seeing her name in the standings, she never looked back. Throughout this time, not only has she been a consistent name in our race standings, but she’s even found her way to the top of the results page many times too. She placed sixth last year in the series for the women’s 45-49 year old age group, and finished fourth the year prior. [click here for the full post]
Do you treat these races any differently than any other that you’ve signed up for? Have you run through injuries in these races to keep the streak alive that otherwise would’ve kept you from running other races?
I’ve needed to remember that life ebbs and flows and it’s fine to have different goals for different years and different stages in your life. There are PR races and there are slower races. There are races where you are helping a friend with their goal or simply training towards another upcoming race. It’s about accepting that races can be for various reasons depending on our life situation and cherishing the gift of just being out there running and being part of the running community. I love the camaraderie. Relative to injuries, my friend, Kara Haas says: “Injuries are as much a part of running as the training is - it’s what keeps us hungry and appreciative.” We’re all familiar with them and yes, a few times I’ve run through injuries to keep the streak alive. Fortunately, nothing too serious!
How have you been able to avoid scheduling issues with work, family, etc. that seem pop up at least once a decade for most runners?
At least once a decade… you make me laugh, Eric! Some races landed on Mother’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, but I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by supportive family and friends who’ve mostly not been too hard on me for dashing to an event right after a race. Last year, I also remember changing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court parking garage after work, heading to Hollis 5K.
Has there been a point where you thought ‘okay, I might be crazy for running though this…’?
Yes, a number of times! But being a runner means we’re pretty crazy to start with!! At one New Bedfordhalf marathon I had a shin tendon issue and Coach Braz and I talked for weeks whether I’d be able to do it. He correctly predicted that if I decided to run the race, I’d need to take off about 6 weeks afterwards to let it heal… he was totally correct. My inflamed shin ballooned the next day and I needed 6 weeks.
Has hitting 100 straight been a goal for you? If so, what would the new goal be?
Yes, for the past few years, reaching for 100 has kept me pushing through. I think it was my Whirlaway teammate, Reno Stirrat, who brought it to my attention that 100 might be reachable. At the time, I was not sure whether I’d be able to pull it off. Being quite undertrained at this moment, I’m still just hoping to be able to get through 100… so one goal at a time.
You’ve clearly conquered the road GP world and need a new challenge. Why not start a streak for consecutive Mountain Goat years?
Eric, I know you’ve done some USATF NE Mountain Series races, so you can appreciate their uniqueness and substantial challenge. I never say “never”, but part of me wants to say, “Eric, are you trying to kill me!?!”
I think you need to run 200 consecutive races for them to name the Iron Runner jackets after you. Are you going for it?
Eric, you never fail to make me laugh, I love your sense of humor!!! Ok, you seriously must be trying to kill me !! 200?!?!
What other running streaks do you have going on?
Eric, that’s a great question. Come to think of it, I guess I’ve strung together things like 12 NewBedford Half marathons. Perhaps I should actively keep track of something like that, huh?
How will you celebrate the achievement?
A sigh of gratitude for this journey… thanks so much to you and my awesome running friends, coaches, teammates, family and co-workers who are always there with encouragement, support, commiseration, advice, fun and keeping me going!!! Without all of you, I’d never have made it through one USATF-NE GP season, to say nothing of 14+ consecutive seasons. I want to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of you!!!
Good luck to Sarah this weekend in New Bedford!