Female Runner of the Year – Nancy StedmanPresented by Kelly Stevens January 15, 2011
I’m honored to be here presenting this year’s “Female Runner of the Year” award to one of my newfound friends. A couple years ago I was brand new to the GWTC scene, and she was one of the first people from the club to befriend me.
First thing I learned about her, is that she has a six pack. She is not only a runner, but also a spinning instructor, and thus the epitome of fitness. Then I noticed that she runs races, A LOT. She ran at least 27 area races in 2010. I also noticed that not only is she running races a lot, but she is often winning her age group, finishing as top female master, or top female overall.
A couple years ago she extended an invite to me to run with her group for Sunday long runs, as she does with many new marathon and distance runners. Here I saw her leadership role with the Imitation Adults, often putting together teams for races and organizing Sunday runs. Then I learned she not only organizes our informal group, but was also a co-director for the Tallahassee Marathon. At this time I concluded that she eats, sleeps and breathes running.
On these long runs I also learned a bit more about her as a person, her love of animals, and how she has come to be a runner. All of this on its own is impressive, but then she told me that just about 5 years ago she wasn’t a runner at all, and was actually an avid smoker. Her inspirational reinvention story is one everybody should hear, but from her and not from me.
You might think that since she is relatively new to running that the improvement in her times is no big feat. But then you see the times she is running – a 21:43 5K at the Women’s Distance Festival, a 3:36 marathon at Marine Corps, and an ultra marathon 50K in 4:24, all in the last year. Not to mention she has won her age group, 45-49, and finished in the top ten of the grand prix for the last four years. She has dropped at least 13 minutes in her marathon time and over 7 since her first 5K in 2005. Like I said, her running and involvement has always been impressive, but 2010 was especially noteworthy. By the end of 2010 she had posted 10 best times in 11 of the distances she had run, including the 1 mile, 5K, 10K, 12K, 15K, 10 mile, 18 mile, 30K, marathon, and 50K. Did I mention what a versatile runner she is too?
If running was a team sport, she would always be a captain. She has worked tirelessly to better the running community, GWTC, and herself. From once not a runner to this year’s female runner of the year, I’m honored to present this award to Nancy Stedman.