Endurance: Connie Gardner

5 Questions with Connie Gardner

February, 28, 2013
When most runners turn 40, they begin to relax their racing goals. Connie Gardner is not most runners.

Last year, at the age of 49, the Medina, Ohio, resident set an American record for the 24-hour run when she covered a stunning 149.368 miles at the World 24-hour Championships in Poland. Her effort was good for a silver medal and helped Team USA win the team title.

Gardner is an 11-time USATF national champion in distances ranging from 50 miles to 24 hours.

When you set the American record in Poland, running 149.368 miles in 24 hours, what was going through your head during the race?

I had trained for the race in Poland to run 150 miles. During the race I was trying to stay on a pace that I had been practicing for years. It was difficult because there wasn't the feedback every few hours. I don't wear a watch or Garmin, I just like to check on things every four hours to see if I am on my goal pace. There was no leaderboard there, the coaches were overwhelmed, so I was trying not to get frustrated and was just hoping for the best. I did feel healthy the entire run, I was appreciating that every step of the way. There are some races where I just don't feel great from start to finish.

What's on your "bucket list" for records/races in the remaining years of your career and why?

My bucket list: I still want to -- need to -- hit that 150-mile mark. I'm not sure why it is so important [to me], I just think it is something I should be able to do and have never done. Other races and events on my bucket list are I would like to get a speed record crossing the United States. I would like to race Badwater again. I would like to race the Spartathlon. My biggest problem is simply getting to the races. The time off work and expenses are too high.

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