Larson gets kicks on Route 66


October 15, 2010 - 12:00 AM

There is no age that is too old to work through the “something missing in my life” syndrome.
Ask Carol Larson, who at age 53, ran her first marathon Sunday. It was not out of a whim. She takes her running seriously, not like she ran in high school.
Larson along with her daughter Nicole (Ellison) Lucke and several friends from the Humboldt area were among over 1,600 runners from 35 states running the first Mother Road Marathon. The event, which included a marathon, a half-marathon and a 5K race, followed the historic Route 66 through three states.
“I’ve tried to train for a marathon three times before. It got to be something I was going to do before I was 30, then before I was 40 and before I was 50, then before I die. I’ve always liked to run, getting outside and doing something. I ran track in (Humboldt) high school — the two mile — but not too seriously,” Larson said.
Larson and Lucke, who is 25, trained 11 week to run a half-marathon, Kansas City’s Hospital Hill Run, in June. Two weeks after that race, they began a 16-week training session for last Sunday’s marathon. Also training for it and running the marathon with them were Mona Hull and Angela Rourk, both of Humboldt, and Becky Frankhauser, Overland Park, formerly of Humboldt.
“Nicole just got tired of hearing me say maybe this time, maybe next time. She signed us up and said ‘we’re going to do it.’”
They endured the “brutal” running during the hot summer, even training in the mornings it was terrible, she said. “But it paid off because it was pretty warm Sunday during the race. About mile 20 or 21, the heat started to affect me and I upped my fluid intake.”
Larson, who is the counselor for juniors and seniors at Iola High School, said they got their training information from They averaged 30 miles a week.
“During that I vowed I wasn’t going to do this again. But a few minutes after I was done Sunday. I’m doing it again. It was awesome. The whole experience.”
The marathon began the 26-mile trek in Commerce, Okla., then into Kansas through Baxter Springs, Riverton and Galena and finished in Joplin, Mo.
“It was amazing running through the three states. I had the time of my life. The six communities we ran through were great in that people were out cheering and manning water stations.”
Larson said she and Lucke, who has been running for about a year, run at different paces. She said in the Hospital Hill run, runners were put in groups of pacesetters and “we didn’t run together or see each other because she runs faster than I do.
“But Sunday Nicole said ‘Mom, I want to start with you.’ That was great. We ran together for awhile then I told her to ‘go, go.’
“Mona and I ran together most of the race. I finished a minute or so ahead of her.”
Larson said she never hit “the wall” during the race “but there is a killer hill coming out of Riverton toward Galena.” She said all the training for the half-marathon and the marathon was to their advantage.
“I’m a pretty competitive person and I’m working on just running it for me, not to beat somebody. Nicole and I never really talked about a target time. Although she wanted to finish in 5 hours and something and I wanted to run it in 61⁄2 hours. Nicole’s time was 5 hours, 13 minutes and mine was 6 hours, 6 minutes.”
Larson said at mile 24, she saw her son-in-law, Scott Lucke, running out to meet her and he ran along with her to the end. She said he did the same for his wife earlier.
“That was special. It was an emotional experience for me. It was something I’ve waited 30 years to do and finally I did it.
“It was special to be able to run it with my daughter. Now, I’ve experienced one of my passions with each one of my children. I officiated basketball with my son, Nate, a few years ago and now ran a marathon with Nicole.”
Larson is in her 14th year as a counselor at Iola High School. She also teaches a dual-credit general psychology class.
“The students and staff have been very positive and encouraging. We all had great support from the Humboldt community. I just knew I had to finish or I couldn’t come back and face the students,” Larson said, laughing.