Aly Venti: The Heat Index
Aly will qualify for the team in the 4th position after running 140.88 miles at a race in South Florida in mid-November. (Note: the qualifying window for the US team has not yet closed, but with no major races between now and when the team is announced in a few weeks, it is an extremely safe bet that these four women who ran over 140 miles will be on the team). And even though Aly accrued the least amount of miles of the “140-plus” club, she is likely the favorite to take the gold medal in Italy.
Maggie Guterl: The Party-Crasher
Traci Falbo: Round And Around And Around And Around We Go…
Katalin Nagy: The Silent Assassin
To say Katy Nagy enjoyed an epic 2104 would be an “epic” understatement. In addition to a 15:53 Keys 100, Katy — a native Hungarian who is now an American citizen living in Sarasota, Florida — decided to test her mettle against the very best long-distance road runners in the world at this year’s Spartathlon, a 153-mile race in Greece that retraces the footsteps of legendary messenger Pheidippides from Athens to Sparta. As usual, Katy passed with flying colors.
I was actually in the race with Katy, and, as usual, she passed me right at about the 50k mark. And she kept going. And going. And going, until she crossed the finish line at the statute of Gerard Butler (er, King Leonidas) in under 29 hours, a truly-remarkable feat.
(For my account of the 2014 Spartathlon, click here).
For her second act, Katy — who does not like the spotlight at all — toed the line at Desert Solstice this weekend, and threw down the gauntlet. 151.37 miles. 9:32 per mile average . . . for twenty-four freaking hours. Less than a mile under the U.S. record. Yeah, good luck staying away from the limelight now, Katy… 🙂
This Team Is Built For Gold
With the talent we are sending to Italy this year, the U.S. women are probably going to be the heavy favorites to win the team gold, and it’s possible — given the right conditions — that all four women break the current U.S. record of 152.03 miles. So good luck and kick ass!
PS: Speaking of those conditions, ladies, if I can give you one piece of advice, it’s to make sure you bring face masks with you if there are going to be a lot of Italians standing around on the course:
The news that “smoking is bad for you” apparently has not yet reached Italy. Everyone, and I meaneveryone smokes out there. It’s unreal. It’s like stepping back into the 80’s (which you would also say to yourself if you turned on an Italian radio station; when I was in Italy this past March for the incredible 175-mile UltraMilano-Sanremo, I heard more old-school Madonna, Whitney Houston, etc. than I have in a long time). Back in 2007, I ran the NYC Marathon, and — I swear I am not making this up — at about Mile 12, I ran past two Italians — running in the race — who were smoking. And we were running at a 3:00 marathon pace. Unfortunately, the only person who can vouch for this story is the guy who was running with me at the time, Lance Armstrong. We ran together for about 5 miles, and he and I shared a smile when we saw the Italian smokers. (He would later go on to drop me and beat me by about 15 minutes (he finished in 2:46 that year)). So there you go. Italians smoke during marathons; just ask Lance Armstrong.