Older Women ‘Roar’ at Dryden WDF

BY SANDY FOLZER

There were two exceptional aspects to this year’s Women’s Distance Festival in Dryden, New York on July 8. First, it was a memorial to Diane Sherrer, who promoted women’s running in the Ithaca/Elmira area. She loved running and wrote about it regularly in the Elmira Star Gazette.  She started this race so is naturally remembered here.   I suspect she had hundreds of “best friends,” for everyone loved Diane.

The second reason this race stood out for me was that out of a total of 108 women, who finished the race, there were four women over 70! As a member of that elite group, I was both shocked and delighted, for I have never entertained so many women in my age group before. We are all fortunate to be healthy enough to be running at our age. I felt pride being a member of this group. And our placement wasn’t bad.

Linda Eberly, 70 years, was first in our age group and 26th overall. This means she was in the top fourth of the finishers. Her time of 26:58 needs to be put in context. This is a tough race.  After following a trail in the woods for a mile, it is practically uphill the remainder of the race. Also, this year was exceptionally hot, well over 90 degrees at race time. Before the race, runners were cautioned NOT to race but simply to run in order to avoid heat stroke. 

I was 20 seconds behind Linda at 27:18 and 28th overall. (I have done two 5Ks around 24:50  this year, for comparison, so you know this course is difficult.) I’m 71 years old.

Next was Lennie Tucker, also 71 years, who finished in 32:37, 59th overall, about mid-pack. Pretty good. Marilyn Williams, 73 years, finished in 41:45, 73rd overall, in the top three-quarters. I might add there were five women in the 60-year age group.

Kim Kraebel, 41 years, was the overall winner with a time of 21:00. Second was Lyann Lorene, 30 years, whose time was 21:38. Third was Kathy Kohls, 20 years, at 21:42.

I am always impressed by the dedicated men who work this race, including, but not limited to, Joe Reynolds and Jim Miner, of the Finger Lakes Running Club. Overall, the good company, beautiful scenery, and great chocolate-chip cookies afterward, make this race special.