A very special runner

By Dana Stetson,


As the old saying goes, the cobbler’s kids will have no shoes and the running columnist’s wife will make no news! Several weeks ago, in this very column appeared a tiny note which stated that Margarete Deckert had completed her 703rd road race. I had always known that Margarete raced hard and often, but I had no idea her totals were so huge.

After reading this notice I knew that I had to find out more about her remarkable story. At first, she wanted no part of this publicity, but finally gave in. There are a couple of factors to keep in mind while reading Margarete’s story: 1) She is as nice as she is competitive (and she is very competitive!), and 2) Margarete did not begin to run until she was 44 years old.
So, all these incredible accomplishments have occurred since then. A small sampling of her running feats are as follows:
Sept. 1977 – started running at age 44; Spring 1978 – 1st race, NOW 10K in 47:53 for first Master; Fall 1978 – 1st marathon NYC in 3:40:12; Winter 1978 – Qualified for Boston at Jersey Shore Marathon in 3:29:05 – 1st woman in Dutchess County, N.Y. ever to qualify for Boston; Spring 1979 – Ran Boston in 3:23; July 1979 – Utica 15K AAU Championship in 1:10:40 for 1st Master.

1980 – ran 24 hour relay with 4 other master’s women for WR 186 miles 787 ft. 10 in.; 1980 – NYC Marathon in 3:11; 1980 – Jersey Shore Marathon in 3:06:18 PR; 1981 – Albany, NY 30K in 2:06 for Nat. AAU 1st Master; 1982 – 50K Sybil Ludington 4:31:08 1st woman; 1982 50M Lake Waramug 7:30:59 for 1st Master; 1983 – Bonnie Belle 10K 40:07 4th fastest 50+ in US; 1984 – Cow Harbor 10K in 39:11 2nd in US for 50+; 1984 – Avon Half Marathon 1:26:47 PR for 1st 50+ in US; 1985 – Runners World 1985 yearbook rated as top 50+ female in US for 1984 by Running Times Magazine; 1985 , 1987 – Jacksonville 15K in 1:07:12. 1988 – First GWTC run, Prefontaine 5K in 25:30; 1989 – Naples National Master 5M 35:18 for 1st 50+; 1989 – Crawfordville Pig Party 5K in 20:45 for 1st overall male/female; 1989 – Tallahassee Ultra 50K in 4:41:02 for FL Age Group record.

1990 – Gulf Winds Woman Runner of the Year; 1994 – Tallahassee Half Marathon 1:50:25; 1995 Cookie Run 5K 24:29; 1998 – Bowlegs 5K 26:10in 26:2; 2000 – Cookie Run 5K in 27:37; 2001; Senior 5K in 27:20; 2002 – Tim Simpkins 5K in 27:43.

25 years of races, records, and honors demonstrates a true commitment to running. What I find most amazing is that she is the first ever woman qualifier for Boston from Dutchess County, N.Y. It’s quite apparent that she was a pioneer in women’s long distance racing. She stressed that her husband, Fred, always supported her running completely.

Margarete has far more races and records than can be examined here. What is obvious is how Margarete has quietly, and with determination, shown what a real runner can accomplish through hard work.