I stumbled across this fairly recent interview with former collegiate elite (and masters comeback) Stephanie Herbst-Lucke by Scott Douglas. In it she provides some interesting perspectives on running in one’s twenties vs. forties.
Herbst-Lucke was a central figure in The Silence of Great Distance, Frank Murphy’s excellent history of the development of women’s distance running in the US in the pre- and post-Title IX era. The book provides a biographical survey of key runners and NCAA teams during that era, placing them into a coherent timeline of how the sport was shaped by Title IX, feminism and the earlier rise in stature of male US distance runners on the world stage. The book also provides a nuanced, compelling treatment of the unique psychological and social pressures experienced by those early female competitors and how they impacted — or, in some cases, ended — their competitive careers.
Herbst-Lucke apparently started showing up at local road races a few years back, where she was occasionally recognized by knowledgeable (and shocked) fellow racers. Despite not having focused on the marathon in her earlier running life, she was among the entrants in Boston earlier this year for the women’s Olympic marathon trials, in which she finished in a respectable 59th place.