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A series of interviews "Meet the Runners" by Debra Agong
One of my earliest running memories was in 2004, when I caught and passed a Rasta lady in turquoise short shorts in a 5k road race around the Queen’s Park Savannah. At that time, I was new to the racing circuit and had just begun to race as opposed to just participating. I zoomed past the lady and stayed ahead to the finish. My next recollection of her was in the Granny Luces classic later that year when we raced from Manzanilla to Sangre Grande. I recognized the toned physique and of course, the famous short shorts. In the distance ahead, I noticed that she was walking which, despite my suffering, gave me the impetus to catch and pass her which I did. Months later, I was surprised to see her on one of our eighteen mile training runs which took us through the Santa Cruz hills. I knew her name only at the end of the grueling run when she declared that she, like I, was training for her first marathon, the CLICO marathon in 2005. We quickly became training partners owing to our status as rookies and our similar running pace. On marathon day, we both were nervous and scared but shared the determination to finish and that we did. We ran the entire marathon together, finishing in 3 hours, 49 minutes with only seconds separating us in the final standings. It would be one of the last times that I was able to out run Wendy.
She was on a high after that experience and never looked back, quickly becoming a fixture on the local racing circuit. At the age of 43, she is thoroughly enjoying this phase of her life after having devoted most of her youth to raising her daughter to whom she gave birth at the age of 17. Wendy admits that life as a young single mother was hard, trying to adequately provide for her daughter with her earnings as a Pizza Boys kitchen worker. However, she worked hard and eventually was able to move on to a better place in life.
This self described party animal and carnival lover is extremely disciplined during training season, often restricting her appetite for a good beer and a party during the hectic Christmas and Carnival seasons since the critical training period for the Trinidad marathon occurs during those months. She says she always looks forward to marathon day as it signals the start of her shortened carnival season, a moment of which she does not waste.
Racing has now become an integral part of Wendy’s life and she intends to continue in that vein for many more years. She recently was inspired by fellow TTRRC members to run three races in three days, completing a 1mile, 10K and marathon on consecutive days during the Run Barbados event in December 2009. She thoroughly enjoyed that experience and looks forward to even more adventures in the future. Wendy feels and looks fitter than she ever was and has no plans of changing that; after all, she has a wardrobe full of short shorts that she is intends to wear for many years to come.
Wendy's answers to 20 questions:
1. When did you start running?
I started taking running seriously in 2005. Before that it was just keep- fit.
2. Who or what prompted you to start?
3. How have you benefited from running?
A lot. Besides the physical benefits, it helped to build my self esteem. It also helps to relieve stress.
4. What is your favourite race distance?
I have two, ½ marathon, and 5k
5. What was the time of your first marathon?
6. What is your best time?
3:47 in Barbados and then the same time in Trinidad 1 month later.
7. What is your favourite training workout?
Long runs and 400m intervals
8.What is your favourite local race to run and why?
9. What is your most memorable race experience?
When I turned 40 and won age group in UWI ½ with a PR of 1:45:04
10. How long did it take before you noticed improvement in your training or racing performances?
11. What do you like least about running/training?
Black toe nails that eventually fall off.
12. Has becoming a member of TTRRC benefited you? How?
Of course. I learned a lot about running from people who have been running for over 15 years. They are able to tell you the little things that could make a big difference in a tough race like the marathon. I also met new people.
13. What do you enjoy most about being a member of the club?
We have a lot of fun and get plenty “kicks” by “the bench”
14. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start running?
Join a club. Running with other people always helps. Always run your own race. Don’t study other people. Don’t let people convince you to try for a time that you know is beyond what you could do. I learned the hard way. I get “mash up” in 2007 marathon listening to other people who told me to run fast. (In 2007 Trinidad marathon, Wendy did the first half of the race in a time that was faster than her half marathon best at the time and ended up walking by mile 15. She finished in a disappointing time of 4:17)
15. Do you believe group running is better than running alone or vice versa? Why?
Group running is good. It always should be divided into groups, depending on ability: fast, medium and slow. Its not a group run if everybody is separate. People must stay together in their groups and help each other.
16. To what do you attribute that improvement (as stated above)?
Training better, smarter, reading about running.
17. What do you think is the most common mistake made by runners in training and/or in racing?
Running too hard. Trying to run after or run from people who are faster than you.
18. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received regarding racing and from whom?
Stay in your racing zone.
19. What are your future goals in the sport?
To finish the New York marathon in under 4 hrs
20. Would you advise other women to take up the sport? In your opinion, are there any special benefits to women who run?
Not really. Is the same pressure which is why the prize structure should always be the same for men and women.
CLICO Marathon 2010
CLICO Marathon 2010
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