Clearwater runner takes it slow in N.Y.

Published November 15, 2007

Ideal running conditions, especially in a marathon, don't necessarily lead to a finish-line goal.

Lisa Kothe of Clearwater, running in her fifth consecutive New York City Marathon, had modest ambitions of running a time 3:15 equal to or better than last year's race through the city's five boroughs. And after passing the halfway mark of 13.1 miles in 1 hour, 34 minutes and 34 seconds, she was well on her way on a cool, windless Nov. 4 morning among a field of 39,000-plus runners from around the world.

"I was feeling fine until the 21-mile mark when I suddenly experienced tight quads," said Kothe, 47, a Clearwater librarian at the North Greenwood Branch. "I really hit the wall; I died. But with the huge crowd cheering and the necessity to get the finish area in Central Park anyway, I just kept going but at a much slower pace."

Despite running the second 13.1 miles in 1:46:06, Kothe finished in 3:20:40, good for first place among area women and fifth-best overall behind only four area men. She finished 2,609th among 39,085 starters.

Kothe covered the first 5K from Staten Island in 21:49, clocked 43:19 for 10K through Brooklyn and into Manhattan, where she was feeling strong.

"My training hasn't been as intense this year as it has in the past," Kothe said. "I don't keep track of my weekly mileage but with my usual training partner, Karol Withrow, injured, I haven't been getting in the miles as in past years. In fact, the longest run I've had leading up to New York was for 2 hours, 40 minutes, and that's about where I hit the wall and died this time."

Kothe said the reason she has been running the New York consistently is that the trip doubles as a visit with family in nearby Ardsley, a town in Westchester County.

Her next event is the Times Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day, which her club, the West Florida Y Runners, puts on every year.

However, the mile event that follows is more important than her 5K time or place, Kothe said.

"That's when I get to run with my 9-year-old daughter, Jenna," Kothe said.

NYC NOTES: Patti Spence's (Belleair) return to the Big Apple was successful, running 3:34:07 for second from the area. Erin Giesa of Seminole was fourth (3:52:04), followed by Jill Voorhis (3:52:47) of St. Petersburg.

In the men's field, John Voorhis, her husband, was the top Pinellas finisher in 3:31:46, followed by Patrick Bene (3:56:45) of Palm Harbor and Tim McDonnell (3:59:18) of Clearwater.

- England's Paula Radcliffe won the women's race with a sprint at the end, crossing in 2:23:09. She holds the world record of 2:15:25.

RICHARD'S RUN FOR LIFE 5K: Laura Drake of Brooksville continued her winning ways in Ybor City on Nov. 2 with a narrow victory in 20:21. Pinellas women swept the next three places, led by Jeannette Townsend (20:20), Leslie Beauchamp (20:46) and Debra Donald, 47, (21:16), all of St. Petersburg.

In the men's field, Dave Picciano of Winter Garden prevailed in 16:46. The top Pinellas men were Dunedin's Victor Yeager, sixth in 18:08; Justin Dodson, Pinellas Park, seventh in 18:29; and Evan Gonsalez, 16, of St. Petersburg, eighth in 18:33.

NEW ST. PETE CLUB: The St. Pete Road Runners Club offers weekly group runs, coaching and social activities. The club, which is affiliated with the national Road Runners Club of America, serves runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. Monthly meetings are held at the Sunset Grille, 2996 Ninth Street, N. Members will be participating in the Times Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day and the Reindeer Run in Tampa on Dec. 8.

For further information, e-mailCarol Glasscock at www.sprrclub@yahoo.com or go to the club's Web site, www.sprr.org.