Longtime St. John resident Pat Mahoney has accomplished something at the age of 60 that many people could not do at any age. Not only did she enter to run in the New York City marathon this October, she finished the race. And not only did she finish the race, she placed 15th out of 166 people in the 60-65 age group.
Mahoney began her running career four years ago at age 56 by taking advantage of a 90 days for $90 special at the Gym in Paradise. I started running on the treadmill, and people told me I shouldnt run on the treadmill because it would mess up by hips and knees, she said. So I just had to show them.
Mahoney started running 20 to 30 minutes three times a week, and entered the 8 Tuff Miles race in 2002. She won her age group that year and every year since.
Mahoney, who was born in Manhattan in 1945, decided two years ago after running her first half-marathon that shed like to go back to her home state to run a full marathon 26.2 miles.
I said wouldnt it be cool when youre 60 years old to go back to the city you were born in and run that marathon youve been watching on TV all these years, she said. So, I started training.
In addition to completing the New York City marathon, Mahoney has run four half-marathons, three eight-mile races and spent a week in Vermont at a runners camp. I kinda got hooked and started running more and increasing my mileage, she said. Id been running an hour and a half each week and said if you can run two hours, you can run half a marathon.
Mahoney, who trained for two years to run the New York City marathon, said she was thrilled with her experience.
I went to the museums, went to the old neighborhood, went to the park I used to play in when I was a little girl, the runner said. The weather was perfect all weekend, the flights were perfect it was just perfect.
Mahoney broke her toe in September and was unsure whether shed be able to run the marathon. I was going along like Chester from Gunsmoke (during the race), and I had a big painful knot in my thigh from running unevenly, she said. Of course the toe was real big and angry, but I recovered pretty well afterwards.
After finishing the race in four hours, 35 minutes and 18 seconds, Mahoney said she had a lot of fun running the marathon. I just kept running and said maybe Ill make it and it was great, the runner said. It was incredible, a real experience. You run across five bridges packed with people cheering you on.
Mahoney was number 4,388 to cross the finish line of the 12,055 total women who finished the marathon.
She plans to go back to running half-marathons, and may consider running another full marathon sometime next year. Its kind of hard on your body, the runner said.
Mahoney will enter the 8 Tuff Miles race next year.