By Janee Law
When she raced in the women’s 5K at the 24th annual Syracuse Festival of Races, an event is the 2016 USATF Masters 5K Championships, Kathryn Martin, of Asharoken, finished in 19:57, which was good for first place in the women’s 65-69 age group.
It was also good for a world record.
Martin was then sent to Perth, Australia to represent the United States in the World Masters Track & Field Championship.
“When I was running toward the finish line I heard [the announcer] say, ‘A new American and world best time,’ ” said Martin, 65, an agent at Signature Premier Properties’ Northport office. “It is the first time in the world a 65-year-old female has broken the time of 20 minutes.”
On Oct. 29, Martin won gold in the 8K cross-country category at the championships with a time of 34:36.30. On Monday, she came in second place with a 2:41.34 time in the 800-meter race.
She was also set to compete in the 10K, which occurred after deadline Monday.
She’ll continue to compete over the next few days as she races in the 1500-meter and 2,000-meter steeplechase events.
“I am so humbled and honored to be representing USA in Australia,” Martin said. “This will be the toughest competition in the world.”
Martin said her passion for running began 35 years ago, when she decided to go running with husband Charles Gross, who’s an active runner.
“I laid down on the road with him standing over me telling me to get up, that a car was going to hit me,” Martin said, adding that she felt exhausted and defeated.
She told him, “Good, I hope it does.” That was a defining moment for Martin, she said, one in which she decided to make changes to her lifestyle.
Although she was not overweight at the time, Martin said that, if she couldn’t run a mile at 30 years old, she might not be able to walk at 60. From that day forward, Martin resolved to get in shape, and each day she would run and/or walk, taking an extra step to improve herself.
Throughout the years, Martin said running has truly become a passion of hers.
“Running helps me maintain balance in life,” she said. “Whatever problems that face me when I go out the door, are no longer a problem when I return. Just being out in the air refreshes and puts life in perspective.
For the World Masters, Martin said that her training includes fine-tuning for each event, adding that training for a variety of distances has been rigorous. She added that her goal is to set American and world records in each of her events.
While running is an outlet for her, she also wants to set an example for generations to come.
"I love that we are role models for the younger generations," she said. "Our lives should include fitness for life and we are a generation that can lead the way."