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Women runners of all ages race into First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon

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sarasotahalfmarahugDid you know that nearly two-thirds of the runners in the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon will be women?
Here are a few of them.
Sarasota’s Carol Westerman, 75, has run hundreds of marathons and half-marathons. Just last month she did an ultra-marathon — 50 kilometers, or 31 miles — at Knight Trail Park in Osprey.
“I run because I can,” Westerman says, laughing. “I can’t tell you how many of my good running friends are golfing now.”
Bradenton’s Robin Resch, 37, runs to honor her son T.J., who was an infant heart transplant patient. She and her husband do the Sarasota Half Marathon each year.
“I just make it through,” she says. “Nothing keeps me going like the thought of what he went through.”
Miami’s Gabriella Castillo, 11, runs a lot of 5K races with her mom, who’s a marathoner. At the Disney Marathon, they ran the 5K and 10K races together.
“It went great,” Gabriella says. “I was very calm and I just kept running.”

sarasotahalfmarawMothers and daughters
More than 4,300 runners have registered for the First Watch race, which is 500 more than last year.
Half marathons are one of the fastest growing distances in racing. Women are a big part of that.
Westerman began distance running back in 1970s, when it was a whole different world. She lived in Kentucky back then, but kept running after moving to Sarasota in the 1990s.
Her favorite training run is across the Ringling Causeway. Members of her running group aren’t as gung-ho as they used to be.
“Now, if there’s an awesome sunrise, we stop,” she says. “If there are dolphins jumping in the bay, we stop.”
Gabriella Castillo started running two years ago. She’s been begging her mother to let her do longer distances.
“I’m very confident,” says the fifth-grader.
At Disney in January, Martha Castillo was recovering from an injury, so she started slowing down. Finally, she told her daughter to run ahead and meet her at the finish line.
“That was very emotional for me,” she says. “For her to be the one waiting for me.”

Interested?
The First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon & Relay Race will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday. The race will start and finish at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Trail; Sarasota. Entry fees are $105. facebook.com/sarasotahalfmarathon

Last modified: March 13, 2014
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