Ruxton woman, 50, finally runs down win

December 09, 2008|By Mike Klingaman | Mike Klingaman,

All her life, Lee DiPietro has been running marathons. On Sunday, at age 50, she finally won one. By a landslide.

“It has taken me 23 years,” DiPietro, of Ruxton, said of her victory in the Marathon of the Palm Beaches (Fla.). “The first thing my husband said was, ‘Did you have to wait so long to do it?’ ”

Her response:

“Trust me, it’s not been for lack of trying.”

DiPietro’s time (2 hours, 55 minutes, 41 seconds) was two minutes ahead of the pack. The win earned her $1,000 cash and a $2,500 wristwatch, and it quelled any thoughts she had of quitting the sport she took up in 1985, after the birth of her second child.

Before Sunday, her best finish was second place in the Baltimore Marathon (2002 and 2003) and her best time a glossy 2:47 in the 2000 Boston Marathon.

A decade ago, DiPietro was also a competitive triathlete. At 39, she was sixth in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon (a marathon run, 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike race).

She still runs as much as 100 miles a week around Towson, year-round, in weather so cold that it has frozen her water bottle.

“I’ve thought of retiring so many times,” she said. “But I love [running] too much to give it up. It’s part of me and my identity.

“There are days when it is hard to get out the door, especially as you get older. But if I can show [50-somethings] that you can actually do something like this, well … I’d love to be a ‘poster person’ for that.”