Sunday, October 05, 2014

Piers Has Lost Her Basketball Skills, but not Her Running Prowess

Woman's Masters winner Sheri Piers heads downhill
to the finish. Photo by Gene Niemi
Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon women's Masters winner Sheri Piers gives credit to her friend Kristin Barry for introducing her to running.  The Maine duo finished first and third in the Masters competition on Sunday.  For Piers it was her third US and Twin Cities title and her second consecutive win.  As in the open women's race, Piers' route to the title was not without drama.

Women's open race winner Ester Erb and  Piers each found themselves searching for a port-a-potty around mile 20.  Like Erb, Piers didn't lose much time on the potty break. "Do I have time to go to the bathroom?" Piers asked her boyfriend.  He gave her the OK and Piers won the race by more than three minutes finishing in 2:42:44.  "While the goal was to win the Masters," said Piers.  "I still wanted to finish in the top ten." She finished twelfth.

Not bad for a self professed lover of her first sport, basketball.  She had run in high school, but stopped during college only to take it up at the behest of Barry. An empty water bottle tempted her to try her shooting skills as she tossed it toward the garbage can.  "Air ball," she said.  The basketball skills may no longer be there, and one reason she enjoys running is that unlike basketball, you can compete in running at a high level no matter what your age.

She returns regularly to the Twin Cities race "because the people here are so nice. They recognize the Masters."  The elite Masters are treated with the same respect as the open winners, Piers said, holding the bouquet of flowers given to both the Open and Masters winners.  Age is not an obstacle in running, Piers says.  You can compete in running throughout your life.  While basketball may be the preserve of youth, running is for everybody, she said.

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