2015-04-10 / Community

Runner comes home with gold and silver medals


Sue McCarthy Sue McCarthy Sue McCarthy, 51, of South Portland tore through the 2015 Indoor National Masters Championship March 20- 22 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

She came home with three gold medals and a silver. Competing in the 50-54 age group, McCarthy’s first challenge was in the 400-meter run, which has a staggered start because it is run in lanes for the first of the two laps on the 200-meter track. Sue was in the lane outside of her main competitor, so she could not see her. As they broke to the inside at the end of the first lap, McCarthy knew she had to grab the lead into the next turn and she got it by just one critical step. That meant she had to hold the lead for the entire final 200 meters. She never let up and finished in a very fast 67.89 seconds, just one-half a second ahead of second place.

The 60-meter dash was her next event and the competition was especially intense. In the 60, even a tiny error can be the difference between first and second, and McCarthy’s start was not as good as she would have liked, but she leaned hard at the finish, and her 8.69 was 5/100ths of a second behind first place and a slight, but measurable 1/100th of a second ahead of third.

“I hesitated slightly at the start, and it is very hard in such a short race to close on the leader,” McCarthy said. “Another 10 meters, and I would have caught her,” said McCarthy, smiling.

Her third individual event was the 200, and her intensity dominated the field. With six competitors in the final, McCarthy was placed in lane four. That meant she could keep an eye on the two runners staggered ahead of her, while the runners in lanes one, two and three could tell where McCarthy was – and right from the gun, she was gone. She closed on the outside staggers in the first 100 meters, and then led all runners down the final straightaway finishing in 28.54 seconds. Several spectators commented on her intensity on the back straightaway.

In the midst of the heats for the other races, McCarthy also joined three other runners to win their age group in the 4x200 meter relay. She won two individual gold medals, a relay gold medal and an individual silver medal.

“The medals do not come easily,” McCarthy said. “While the rest of us are still in bed, I am at the indoor track at 5:30 in morning pushing myself through my workout.”

When asked about her training, McCarthy replied, “There are actually so many parts of each race to get ready for, and each race is different. From a sheer training point of view the 400 meters require the most intense work. The last 100 meters in that race is really tough, but the start of the 60 needs to be perfect. I am going to stay focused on my strength training, but I want to find that one-half second in the 60.”

When asked what keeps her going, McCarthy’s reply was quick, “I think we all benefit from having goals and challenges in life. A sense of achievement provides motivation to move forward, to get up in the morning, and gives meaning to everyday life. It’s important to find passion in life. Mine is training hard and running as fast as I can. The master athletes I compete with across the U.S. and throughout the world are wonderfully talented and compassionate and supportive. It is an amazing community to be associated with. This is what keeps me going.”

McCarthy also reflects the sentiments of herself and other co-competitors, “What we do is a celebration of life. Showing up for life’s challenges, meeting them head on takes depth of strength, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s a journey of gratitude and satisfaction.”

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