ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Olympic gold medalist, breast cancer survivor and hometown hero Kikkan Randall crushed her goal of a three hour marathon Sunday as she crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon with a time of 2:55:12.
“I was relieved that it felt good the whole way, I knew my engine was good, but I was nervous whether or not my legs would hold up running that pace for the whole 26 miles,” Randall told KTUU over the phone Sunday.
Her speed was evident averaging a 6 minute 41 second mile throughout the 26.2 mile course, and ran some of her fastest times towards the end of the race.
“Kind of kept a lid on it for the first half, and then in the second half we were all feeling pretty good. So we picked it up a little bit,” Randall said.
Along with making it to the finish line, Randall said sharing the experience of running in New York City with thousands of others was unforgettable.
Whether more marathons are in Kikkan’s future is to be determined.
“It’s been really fun this year to try new things," Randall said. "I did my first 50k ski race last February, then I did a one mile open water swim this summer, and now I’ve done the marathon so we’ll see."
The world champion skier began preparing for the NYC Marathon in April, and worked on a training plan with her former East High School running coach Harry Johnson. After the race Sunday, Randall said the preparation for a marathon made her appreciate her training even more.
“Over the years with ski racing I lost touch with that, skiing had become such a apart of my life. It was cool to relearn that lesson why it’s important to train, and why it pays off.”
What A Difference A Year Makes
The 2019 NYC Marathon was a year overdue for the five-time Olympian — Randall said she had planned on running it in 2018 as a celebration of her retirement from skiing, but then was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer.
“When I got the diagnosis, I was like 'this is going to get in the way of running the marathon,'” Randall said. “Last year I was there cheering my teammates on, and it was great to be able to come back and actually be able to run it this year.”
The reason Randall wanted to run in the NYC Marathon was her close relationship with the non-profit organization AKTIV Against Cancer, whose goal is to make physical activity an essential part of cancer treatment. AKTIV has close ties to the famous 26.2 mile race, with the organization having been founded by nine-time New York City Marathon champion Grete Waitz, and Executive Director Helle Aanesen.
Randall ran as an ambassador for the group, and continues to raise money through merchandise sales on her website. One of the most popular items she sells is the OK! Socks, which Randall says she saw a few pairs of among the runners in the marathon.
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