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Local runner completes first marathon

Local running enthusiast Michelle C. Adams recently competed in her first marathon at the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville on Dec. 8, 2001.

But competing wasn’t the first thing on her mind. Much like most first-time marathoners, Adams was in Huntsville just to prove she had the endurance to finish the 26.2 mile trek; the challenging pinnacle of long-distance running.

"I came here to complete, not compete," said Adams prior to the race.

However, Adams’ baptism into the running elite came on a blustery day when temperatures dipped into the 50s. Sporadic rainfall also hindered the runners’ efforts.

The race started at 8 a.m. as Adams, along with 1,400 other men, women and children, attempted to navigate a soggy course to the finish line.

The eventual winner, an elite runner, finished the marathon in two hours and 20 minutes. For her first try, Adams made a good showing, finishing the race in a respectable five hours and 36 minutes.

Adams summed up her experience with a quote from John Bingham, noted columnist of Runners World Magazine.

"The miracle isn’t that I finished," Adams echoed Bingham’s words. "It’s that I had the courage to start."

Adams credits her husband, Jon E. Adams, (PA-C, ATC), with giving her the courage and means to complete this monumental task. Other support personnel who saw her through training injuries include: Chuck Ash (ATC, Head Athletic Trainer at Troy State), James A. Whiteside (MD, Eminent Chair of Sports Medicine at TSU), and Mickey DiChiara, (MD). Adams was coached and encouraged by Troy State Track and Field head coach Bob Lambert.

Adams plans to run another marathon next year, hopefully in better weather, and finishing with a better time.

The marathon has its roots in Greek legend. In 490 B.C., Athenian troops defeated a large Persian invasion force on the plain of Marathon, 25 miles from Athens.

Legend holds that an Athenian courier, Phidippides, covered the distance from Marathon to Athens and after reaching the city exclaimed the Athenian victory. He then promptly died of exertion.