Thursday, March 3, 2005

Young at heart


Gladys Burrill finished her first marathon, the Honolulu Marathon, last year in 9 hours, 9 minutes and 33 seconds.

Crossing the line

Gladys Burrill, 86, is proof that seniors
can complete the Honolulu Marathon
even if they walk nearly all the way

» Local marathon training groups

Every December, thousands of people walk, jog, sprint or crawl across the Honolulu Marathon finish line at Kapiolani Park, marking the end of a grueling 26.2-mile trek around Honolulu.

Many have trained for months, some get injured and a few quit. In the end, only those who endure know the feeling of crossing that finish line.

"My favorite part of the marathon was when I was coming back to the finish," recalls 86-year-old Gladys Burrill, last year's oldest finisher. "I was coming up Kahala Avenue, and it was just really thrilling. People talk about hitting the wall while going up Diamond Head on the way back, and all of a sudden I was going over the top already and I had to laugh at myself because I didn't even hit the wall."

Burrill decided to do the marathon for the first time after watching from her Waikiki condo a year earlier as the fireworks kicked off the race. Her finishing time: 9 hours, 9 minutes and 33 seconds. She walked most of the way except for that last stretch of the race where she got excited and picked up the pace. Now she's already training for this year's race.

"I've enjoyed walking all the time, but I thought I wanted to inspire young people and people of all ages who have the health to get out and walk or exercise because so many people don't," says Burrill on her reasons for doing the marathon. "I've always walked a lot. And when I decided to do the marathon, I just began putting more energy into it, and I just became more enthusiastic about it. Right now we are down in Arizona, and I'm walking in the desert trails every day from six to 10 miles. I just enjoy walking so much."

Burrill, who lives in Oregon and Hawaii, trains on her own. However, there are about a dozen local marathon training groups available for runners of all ages and running levels.

"As a physician I think people, especially people 50 years and older, should have a physical exam before they consider running a marathon," advises Dr. Jim Barahal, president of the Honolulu Marathon. "They should also have heart testing done, especially a person who was a smoker or a person with major health problems. The training can be strenuous and so can the marathon."

Burrill admits she was never really into sports, but she believes that anybody at any age can do the marathon.

"You just have to have the desire to do it," she said. "And, of course, you should be in good health. You can't just start out the last few weeks and expect it.

"Even young people have told me that they don't think they could do the marathon, and I think, oh, it would be so easy for someone who's 50 years old."

Honolulu Marathon


On the run

Local marathon training groups:

Boca Hawaii
Training with Raul Boca starts in August; meets three times a week
Cost: $350
Call: 591-9839

Brian Clarke School of Running
Training program starts on Sept. 7; meets three times a week
Cost: $225
Call: 737-4340

Five Months in Agony
Training with Gerry Lindgren starts in July; meets three to four times a week.
Cost: $150
Call: 396-0089

Honolulu Marathon Clinic
Starts March 13; meets at 7:30 a.m. every Sunday at Kapiolani Park (3833 Paki Ave., across from Paki Hale)
Cost: Free

Niketown Running Club
Niketown Honolulu (2080 Kalakaua Ave.); meets at 6 p.m. every Wednesday
Cost: Free
Call: 943-6453

Personal Best Training
Training with Jonathan Lyau starts in August; meets twice a week
Cost: $25 per month with daily schedule, free without schedule
Call: 227-8777

Team Jet Hawaii
Marathon training program with Chet "the Jet" Blanton starts Aug. 2; meets three times a week
Cost: $175

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training Program
Training starts in August
Cost: $50 registration fee
Call: 534-1222

Try Fitness
Training for Women with KC Carlberg starts in August; meets three times a week
Cost: about $380
Call: 946-0346



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