There’s been a lot of talk of sister heroes recently, attributable in large part to Oiselle which uses the term frequently in print, on product and in interviews. Among the most commonly talked about “sister heroes” are Oiselle runners Kara Goucher, Lauren Fleshman and now Steph Bruce. All of these women have had exceptional running careers. All are also mothers, which lends to much of their mass appeal. And while all are interesting to me in their own right, they aren’t really my sister heroes.
Much of this comes out of watching the New York City Marathon on Sunday where yet again, the announcers totally missed the mark. Speaking off scripts and clearly undereducated about the sport (a shame, since a few of the announcers REALLY should have known better), the conversation focused on how tough a day Kara had or how disappointed Deena must be while entirely overlooking the two Americans who really showed their stuff: Desi Linden and Annie Bersagal. One announcer even went so far as to say that Bersagel “didn’t have her best day” despite her being 2nd American and battling horrendous winds for 26 miles. They didn’t bother to mention that Bersagal is unsponsored and legitimately works a full time job as a lawyer. They didn’t bother to mention how brilliantly Desi ran, tucked in the lead group and just quietly working away.
Bersagal and Lanni Marchant, another attorney-pro runner are my kind of heroes. It’s often frustrating for me to look at my training opportunities and race performances and wonder if it would be different if my life wasn’t centered on surviving medical school. Women like Bersagal and Marchant give me hope that it is possible to work full time and be successful at running as well. Yes, there are many concurrent sacrifices (such as zero social life) but one doesn’t have to live at altitude and live the pro lifestyle to be a top runner.
Who are your running heroes? Anyone else watch NYC this weekend?