Los Gatos resident Christine Kennedy has been named the 2011 Masters Athlete of the Year by USA Track and Field at the organization’s Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in St. Louis on Dec. 3.
Her marathon finishing time of 2:56:17 in the women's 55-59 age group was better than her previous two wins in Boston—2:57:19 in 2010 in the 55-59 group and 2:56:32 in 2009 in the 50-54 group.
She also finished first in the 5-, 10- and 15-kilometer competitions in the WMA. Kennedy also won the gold medal in her age division at WMA's marathon with an impressive time of 3:00:48; nearly 19 minutes ahead of the silver medalist.
The Ireland native and co-owner of store in downtown Los Gatos said she is honored to be part of the masters competition and to have the opportunity to continue to challenge herself to perform at the top level.
“I feel that USA Track and Field has done an amazing job of bringing masters competitions to the high level that they are today,” Kennedy said. “And I just wanted to be a part of that. The championships have given me great inspiration to continue to race the best that I can.”
According to the USA Track and Field website, the masters Athlete of the Year award was established in 2004 to recognize athlete older than 40 years of age. The winner is selected by the organization’s Masters Committee.
When she told her husband and family that she wanted to race such a distance, they first thought she was joking and laughed at her idea.
“I was so hurt by that (their laughter). I decided to start training. It took me five years to win the Dublin Marathon, and I haven’t looked back,” Kennedy said.