Chris Martin and Susan Kinsella were both making debut efforts last Sunday in the Princeton Healthcare 10k Run.
“This is the first time I have done this race, believe it or not, even though I have been in the area since ’99,” said Martin, 37, a resident of Lawrenceville.
“I used to do triathlons and this is the peak of the triathlon season. I have retired from triathlons for a while. My wife and I started to settle down and have kids. I have known about the race for a long time. I have come here to cheer on friends. I figured it is one of those things I should do someday.”
For Kinsella, 49, a resident of Millington, the Healthcare 10k was her first race at the 6.2 mile distance.
“This is the first 10k I have ever done,” said Kinsella. “I have done 5ks and I did the Boston Marathon this year.”
The pair looked like 10k veterans as Martin won the race in a time of 35:13 while Kinsella placed 14th overall and was the top female finisher in 41:55. The race drew 551 runners who were undeterred by the muggy conditions which saw 75 percent humidity as the event got underway just after 8 a.m.
Martin, who grew up in Arizona, kept his mind off the humidity as he dueled at the front of the pack with friend Chris Sallane.
“He kept me going,” said Martin of Princeton resident Sallane, who finished second with a time of 35:28.
“I am not a runner so I have no sprint whatsoever. At the very start, I felt sluggish going up the hill. I spent the first mile just trying to bridge back up to him. We ran together for about three miles; we were chatting and catching up. After four miles, we were going up a hill and I just started pulling away a little bit. I could hear him behind me the whole way.”
The victory will help keep Martin going through the heat over the next few months.
“It is a good confidence boost; it keeps me motivated to train through the summer,” said Martin, a program manager at SRI International.
“The summer is a long time; there is a lot of training to do. When you get a few good results, it motivates you to get out the door at 5 in the morning before work to put in those miles.”
Kinsella, for her part, was motivated to see how fast she could cover 10k.
“I did a 5k last week,” said Kinsella, noting that she clocked a time of 20:24 in the 3.1 mile event. “Since I had never done a 10k before, I wanted to break 45:00.”
While Kinsella easily hit her time goal, she was surprised to end up as the top female finisher.
“For a while I was in a pack and then I was by myself,” said Kinsella. “There was one guy who finished right behind me. He was in front of me a lot of the time. I didn’t realize I was the first woman.”
Buoyed by her success, Kinsella is planning to push herself through the summer and into the fall.
“I had been doing weekly mileage of low-to-mid 20s since Boston,” said Kinsella, who had finished the Boston Marathon before the bomb explosions and plans to run in that event next year.
“I got a stress fracture training for Boston and I haven’t really been doing any speed work because of the that. I might do another marathon. I didn’t get into New York so I might do Philly.”
Martin has his sights set on another running debut. “I am just doing running,” said Martin.
“Right now I am at about 80-90 miles a week. My goal this fall is to do my first ultramarathon. I haven’t done anything like that. I am going to the JFK, it is in western Maryland and it is 50 miles.”