• 50°

David Freeze column: Marathoning can happen to anyone

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
After my column about the top male marathoners in county history, next up is a list of the fastest women. I will do just that today, but will also follow the advice of Joe Trainor of Sterling Court and say something about the regular folks who just decided to take on a huge challenge and made it happen.
Two of my friends asked me last year about the possibility of helping them run a marathon. Robin Bernhardt is a patient account representative with Rowan Regional Medical Center and Sheila Basinger is a Trust Fund Officer with the NC Department of Public Safety. Both had been running for a few years since joining one of our Beginning Runners Classes. Funny thing about that is that they lived on the same road, went to the same church, but both came to the class without really knowing each other.
Robin and Sheila definitely know each other now. Robin said “We started from nothing. We couldn’t run a mile, but we worked our way up to running regularly. Still, a marathon was a scary thought to us.” Sheila actually had the idea and said, “I wanted one of those 26.2 stickers for my car!”
They took a training schedule and faithfully stuck to it. Training included weeks of long runs, with a high of 22 miles, some of it in cold and rainy conditions. The congregation at Grace Lutheran Church got behind them, and even had a children’s sermon about them. Robin told Sheila “There is no backing out now!”
They completed the Virginia Beach Marathon on March 18th. Sheila said “Don’t tell our time. It wasn’t as fast as we wanted.” They passed the half marathon on pace for a 5 hour finish, but Sheila developed a serious blister and the two friends stuck together as planned even though their pace slowed.
Now for the fast women. I love fast and sweaty women, and this group has done serious training along the way. The top Rowan County female marathoner is Mary Dudley Bertram. Her best time came at the 2009 Philadelphia Marathon with a finish of 2 hours, 49 minutes, and 35 seconds. She also has another sub 3 hour marathon at the 2009 Boston Marathon with a clocking of 2:58, a time that placed her as the top NC woman. Mary is now Mary Tramazzo, having recently moved to New York with her military husband.
Second, and the county record holder for 31 years previous to Bertram’s fast finish, is Kim Fisher Shuping who teaches math at Erwin Middle School. At age 16, Shuping had a time of 3:08:26 at the 1977 Columbia Marathon. Third is Rebecca Bosley with a fast finish of 3:24:18 at the 1981 Charlotte race. Fourth is Carol Hauss, a long time area standout runner with a personal best of 3:32 in the 2006 Myrtle Beach race. Fifth is Dr. Kathi Russo with a fastest time of 3:35 in the 2011 New York City Marathon. Russo did that at age 52, and will compete in her fifth straight Boston Marathon next week.
The next group is headed by three friends who finished together in last year’s Myrtle Beach Marathon. Meredith Abramson, Kelly Lowman, and Ashlynn Trexler all had a time of 3:41:09. Abramson and Lowman are also headed to Boston, with Lowman being 18 weeks pregnant. Katelyn Story at age 16 is next with a clocking of 3:41:44 at the 2011 Charlotte event. Judy Lynn had a time of 3:44:33 in the 1981 Charlotte Marathon. Delaine Fowler, the area’s top female triathlete, had a stand-alone marathon best of 3:45 in the 2010 Nation’s Bank Marathon.
Two other notables are 14-year-old Karen Hopkins with a 4:06:56 at the 1980 Charlotte Marathon and Susan Moore of Woodleaf. Susan points out that she is the best marathoner in Woodleaf, but she readily admits “I am the only one.” Her best time of 3:51:09 was set in Charlotte in 1995.
Once again, thanks to Ed Dupree for helping me compile this list and if we left anyone out, please feel free to send the information to salisburyrowanrunners@gmail.com .
Marathoning is tough work. The emotional highs and lows of training and the race are amazing. Robin Bernhardt said “It is the most physical and the hardest thing that I have ever done. Just reaching the finish line is life changing. Who would have thought that we could have done this?” Now their family members are starting to run and exercise, and Robin and Sheila are the inspiration for that. They earned those “26.2” stickers and the future is bright for more.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Catawba holds baccalaureate services for Class of 2021

News

$9M settlement for two men wrongfully sent to death row

Nation/World

China lands spacecraft on Mars in latest advance for its space program

Business

Gas crunch hits Washington; Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million in Bitcoin ransome

Coronavirus

State mostly returns to normal operations after 15 months of lockdowns, restrictions

Crime

Blotter: Man accused of stealing car, crashing it

Crime

Man faces new charge of attempted murder for father’s shooting

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper lifts indoor mask mandate for most situations, gathering limits

Crime

Barnes gets new punishment of two life sentences in Tutterow couple’s 1992 murder

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday