Local runners battle the hills of San Francisco

Dan Falloon

Three locals were running around San Francisco earlier this month.
Shannon Jackson, Nicole Turcotte, and Dana Kosowick took part in the Nike Women’s Marathon on Oct. 17 in the city by the bay, which helped raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research.
Jackson and Turcotte both ran the full marathon, finishing with times of 4:18:07 and 4:19:09, respectively.
Kosowick completed the half-marathon in a time of 2:49:18.
Featuring a field of more than 22,000 participants, the run provided quite the challenge for the locals given San Francisco’s famously hilly terrain, although the chance to run along the Pacific Ocean was a beautiful one, said Jackson.
“It was a very scenic course. It was a very challenging course,” she recalled.
“There were a lot of hills.”
Jackson added the day’s weather brought good temperatures, although some precipitation kept conditions from being optimal.
“It was just a steady stream of rain,” she noted. “It was still cold and wet because we were running along the ocean, right along the Pacific coast for the latter part of the race.
“It’s really not all that warm in San Francisco anyways.
“A lot of people think that because it’s California, it’s hot, but San Francisco is northern California and their weather really isn’t that much different than ours is right now,” Jackson stressed.
However, it could have been much worse given that a suffocating heat wave broke just as the marathon neared.
“They had a massive heat wave the week before we came, and two days before we were there, it was 110 degrees,” Jackson noted.
“Thankfully, it changed before the marathon because that is not the runner’s ultimate running condition, either.”
The trio did their best to ready themselves for the difficult course, but Jackson acknowledged several of the Bay Area’s hills were difficult to account for here in Borderland.
“We did lots of hill training. Because it was our first time, we followed a beginner’s marathon program and there was hill training in it that we did once a week,” she explained.
“I still don’t think it was enough.
“Of course, the hills around here are not nearly as big as they are in San Francisco,” she conceded, estimating a runner would have to traverse the overpass here numerous times to prepare.
But even though the hills could be attacked distance-wise, the nature of them was more difficult to replicate.
“Some were quite steep and the downhill was actually worse than the uphill,” Jackson recalled.
There were several aspects to the trio’s training.
“We incorporated cross-training into it,” Jackson said. “On our days of not running, we did biking, resistance training, speed work, sprints.
“Of course, you have your dreadful long runs at the end of the week that you build up to,” she added.
“You have to run all around the town twice.”
However, the town’s perimeter doubled isn’t even quite a full marathon, and the marathon itself ended up being about five miles longer than the trio’s longest practice.
“We did one 20-miler in town, and then a 21.5,” Jackson noted. “It’s a mind-over-matter game at the end.
“You’re near the finish line, but the last 10 km you’ve got to get into the groove and know that you’re almost there.
“At the end of it, it’s a great feeling to run [across] the finish line and know that you’ve accomplished that and you’ve defeated that challenge,” she concluded.
At the end of the marathon, each runner got more than just a feeling of accomplishment. Each was rewarded with a Tiffany and Co. necklace, complete with a charm that said, “I run to be.”
“Rather than getting a medal, like all finishers do, the women were awarded with a necklace, which is a really nice keepsake, a different keepsake,” Jackson enthused.
In other marathon news, four locals competed in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10.
Sharla MacKinnon led the contingent, finishing in a time of 4:21:09, while Angela Petsnick completed the course in 4:35:48.
Terri-Lee Tremblay crossed the finish line in 4:53:02, followed by Jayne Wyder at 4:57:13.