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Friday Morning Roundtable Excerpts: Linda Somers Smith

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On why she didn’t run the first Olympic Marathon Trials for women, in 1984, even though she had qualified:  “I was really focused on law school and I was hurt. Running was never my priority. Looking back on it I would probably should have just gone and stumbled through it, but it wasn’t really my priority. I never thought I was going to be a runner.”

On the changes she’s seen in women’s running since she began: “It’s actually pretty funny because when I first started I ran a race and of the first three women, and this is just an example, the first woman was a dentist and the second woman was a nuclear physicist and the third woman was a lawyer. I was third. You know – we are all overachievers and we ran. Now, you are starting to see true, true athletes and you don’t have to say ‘by the way, I’m also a teacher’ or say ‘I’m also this’. It’s truly a profession now and we have enough support so you can be supported that way. I think that’s a huge change. A good change.”

On what it means to be here again: “I’m excited to participate. I consider it an achievement. I’d like to be on four Olympic teams like Colleen (de Reuck), or Deena (Kastor), who might be on four Olympic teams. That is obviously a much greater accomplishment, but this is an accomplishment of sorts. I’m happy that I can still run. I like that it’s something I love to do and can continue to do it.”

On her goal for Saturday: “I would like to run respectably and to my potential, around 2:40.” (Note: Joan Benoit Samuelson currently holds the U.S. marathon  record for women 50-54, 2:47:50.)

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