Champion long-distance runner looks back on career

By Greater Astoria Historical Society

In conjunction with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, the TimesLedger Newspapers presents noteworthy events in the borough’s history.

Born on July 9, 1978, Kara Goucher is one of the most competitive female long-distance runners in recent United States history. Beginning in her collegiate days at the University of Colorado, where the Queens native was an NCAA champion in track and cross country events, Goucher has been an elite runner in events nationwide and across the globe from the 1,500-meter race to numerous marathons.

She currently resides in Boulder, Colo., with her husband, fellow American Olympian Adam Goucher, and their son, Colton.

After an early childhood in Queens, Goucher and her family moved to Minnesota after her father was killed by a drunk driver in 1982. Following four years spent honing her running skills at Duluth East High School in her adopted home state, the fleet-footed athlete from Queens took her competitive instincts to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she first earned national recognition.

She emerged on the national stage as a student-athlete in 2000. Not only was she the NCAA Outdoor Champion in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter competitions, but she also was a key member of the Colorado team that took home the NCAA cross country title. She also finished eighth in the 5,000-meter U.S. Olympic Trials that year.

After graduating college and battling debilitating injuries for several years, the former NCAA champion began to make her mark on the international running scene in 2006. In the IAAF World Cup in Athens, Greece, Goucher ran the second fastest 10,000-meter race of any American woman in history. In 2007, Goucher ran the fastest woman’s half-marathon time. She competed in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, but did not win any medals.

Soon after her return stateside, the Olympian returned home to New York City to compete in her first of many marathons, finishing third among all women in 2008. Three years later, following the birth of her son, she ran a personal best 2:24:52 in the Boston Marathon. Eyeing a return to Olympic glory, Goucher represented the United States in the 2012 Summer Games in London, placing 11th in the marathon. The long-distance runner from Queens narrowly missed out on a trip to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, finishing fourth in a trial run for three spots on the U.S. team.

Although Kara Goucher may be nearing the end of a career at the very top of her sport, she has never lost her love of running and due pride in her storied athletic career. Speaking to local news media after completing a half-marathon in Duluth, Minn., recently, she took the opportunity to reflect on her lifelong relationship with long-distance running.

“I had so much fun today,” Goucher said. “I don’t know what place I was, but I had a blast. When I was in my 20s, I didn’t think I would find it that fulfilling. Now that I’m a little bit older, I’m finding fulfillment in different things. I’ve just gained perspective, as most athletes do, as I age. I am slowing down. That’s the reality, but my love for it hasn’t gone away at all.”

Compiled by Greater Astoria Historical Society. For further information, contact the Society at 718-278-0700 or visit our website at www.astorialic.org.

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