Female Runner of the Year – Kelsey Scheitlin

Presented by Amanda Hudson

How much does an encouraging word mean to a runner?

Well, a lot if you are like me. One encouraging word can take you a long way when running down a lonely trail or another monotonous lap around the track. If you have ever run with this year’s Gulf Winds Track Club Female Runner of the Year, you can always count on hearing some encouraging words when you need it most,trying to make it through a workout. Her infectious smile, uplifting personality and joyful attitude always seem to be evident when you are around this runner. Not only can she be defined by her attitude, but this well-rounded person excels not only as a runner but as a Ph.D. student at Florida State University.

At the age of 26, we will soon be calling her Doctor. She will graduate later this year and will be a great source next time anyone wants to track the next big hurricane. With her busy schedule in school, you might think that running might take a backseat. But this is definitely not the case if you look at the results this Maryland native has put up in the past year.

She easily cruised to this year’s Gulf Winds Grand Prix title, improving her times consistently along the way. After qualifying for the Boston Marathon in November of 2008, she continued to put up impressive times in 2009. She began the year by breaking the 20-minute barrier with a time of 19:46 in the Run for the Cookies. But she did not settle with breaking just one barrier, by the end of summer, she won the Women’s Distance Festival with a time of 18:59. She then backed up that sub-19 minute 5K race with another in the Alan Sundberg Memorial 5K in October. She has also proved to be quite a versatile runner, performing at almost any distance. She ran a 5:27 mile at the Breakfast on the Track in August and then in October ran the Hoover Dam Half Marathon in 1 hour and 36 minutes.

All her running accomplishments are easy to notice. But what I notice most about this year’s Female Runner of the Year is how much she gives back to the sport and the people that she touches every time she smiles and provides an encouraging word.

I am proud to announce that this year’s Gulf Winds Track Club Female Runner of the Year is Kelsey Scheitlin.