On the 30th anniversary of her gold medal win in the inaugural women's Olympic Marathon at the Los Angeles Games, longtime Run for Women participant Joan Samuelson, 56, will also return to Freihofer’s
ALBANY, NY — One of the hottest over 40 runners in the nation will headline another strong masters field when the 36th edition of the Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K takes center stage in Albany, N.Y. on Saturday, May 31.
Melody Fairchild (Boulder, Colo.), 40, appears to be the one to beat heading into the prestigious IAAF silver labeled event, having notched three wins in just four weeks last fall, including the USA Masters 5K Championships (16:51), 15K Masters National Championship, as well as 1st female (2nd overall) at the Project Athena US Trail Half Marathon, which served as the half marathon National Championships in Moab, Utah.
The childhood prodigy — the first high school girl to break 10 minutes for two miles — has continued that rich vein of form in 2014 with 1st place finishes at the 2014 US Masters 20K Championships and 2014 Yuengling Half Marathon in addition to runners-up trophies at both the 2014 BAA 5K and USA Cross-Country Championships in Boulder.
“Fans of the Freihofer’s Run for Women will remember Melody’s string of successful appearances here as an open athlete, including her 5th place finish in 1997 (15:42),” said Event Director George Regan, adding that the Freihofer’s doubled as the USA Women’s 5K Championship at that time. “Now that she’s competing as a master, she has continued to show that she remains a serious force to be reckoned with.”
Battling Fairchild to the podium will be Sheri Piers (Falmouth, ME), 42, the fourth female master and 31st woman at last month’s Boston Marathon. Trained by three-time Freihofer’s Run for Women champion Benita Willis, Piers fought a tough battle with Poland’s Dorota Gruca (Las Cruces, NM) in 2013 finishing second in a time of 17:25.
Also in the leader mix will be Canada’s Paula Wiltse, 46, (Brockville, ONT), a talented veteran who was named Running Times’ Master of the Year in 2008. Wiltse, typically a front runner, cruised to a comfortable victory at Freihofer’s in 2008 in a time of 17:29 followed by respectable 6th (2009), 3rd (2010) and 4th (2011) place finishes.
On the 30th anniversary of her gold medal win in the inaugural women's Olympic Marathon at the Los Angeles Games, longtime Run for Women participant Joan Samuelson, 56, (Freeport, ME) will also return to Freihofer’s, which is home to the Masters World and U.S. All-Comers record (15:48; Colleen DeReuck 2004). She will sign autographs Friday, May 30 from 6-6:30 p.m. at the CDPHP/CapitalCare Health & Fitness Expo presented by OrthoNY.
Samuelson, a running icon, will toe the line alongside:
- Emily Bryans, 46, (Schenectady, NY), 4th place master in 2014 (18:16) and winner of the 2011 5K Masters Championship (17:17) at the Festival of Races in Syracuse, N.Y.
- Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, 55, (Austin, TX), a longtime fan favorite who ran 17:46 in 2010 to win the event’s over-50 title.
- Libby James, 77, (Fort Collins, CO), the 2011 Running Times “Master Runner of the Year,” who could set an age group record.
For more information about the 36th annual Freihofer’s Run for Women, 27th annual Kids’ Run, 26th annual Community Walk, 4th annual Freihofer’s Junior 3K Run and the USA 5K Race Walk Championships, visit freihofersrun.com. From the home page, you can also link to the event's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. A dedicated Training Challenge Facebook page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/