Friday, October 23, 2009

Despite a fall, 80-year-old nun wins again


Sister Beth Wood stumbled and fell as she crossed the finish line after the half marathon Sunday morning at the 32nd Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon.

Wood, who is 80 and has been running marathons since the early ’80s, wasn’t badly hurt, grazing her elbows but not denting her spirits.

Wood, who belongs to the Immaculate Heart of Mary order in Monroe, thanked the medical team who came to her aid, and even offered a prayer for the Free Press reporter who asked whether she was OK.

“I went to Rome 10 years ago and ran a marathon there,” said Wood, who was born in Detroit and entered the order as a 17-year-old. “The pope blessed us before we started. Maybe that’s what helped me out when I fell today.”

Wood placed first for her age last year, and did so again this year in 3:01.11, four minutes faster than last year. She already was looking forward to competing in 2010.

“Maybe I’m the only 80-year-old running,” she smiled. “I just love the event.”

Wood said spectators lining the route urged her on throughout.

“Everyone was very supportive,” she said. “People were cheering and clapping. I think it was because of my white hair and not my speed.”

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