Sometimes you just have to marvel at people like Brooke Starn, a 2016 Monte Vista High School graduate.
As a Mustang, she was an accomplished student and athlete. On the track, Starn set school records in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters that are still easy to stand today.
She also excelled in class and was admitted to Harvard after graduating from Monte Vista.
Once at Harvard, Starn ran the job for three years, taking on the academic rigors and earning a degree from Harvard. After the Ivy League, Starn returned west for postgraduate work at UC Davis and also joined the Aggies track team.
Then, on July 29, Starn headed back east to begin medical school at NYU. But don’t think the running shoes have been put away now that the academic side of life is getting harder and harder.
Seemingly to make that clear, Starn went out on July 24 and ran her first marathon, taking on the hilly San Francisco Marathon for her first distance attempt.
She did a little more than just compete – she won the women’s race and finished ninth in the overall standings, crossing the finish line in 2 hours 44 minutes 38 seconds. That’s an average of 6:18 per mile over the 26.2-mile course.
“I was really surprised by the time,” Starn said of what she thought when the race ended. “I was happy to have my party moment.”
Starn’s inspiration for taking on a marathon was her mother Mandee, who has run 14 marathons and is a running partner for her daughter on some days.
Mandee’s first marathon was also the San Francisco Marathon, 30 years earlier.
“My mom has run marathons, so I knew I wanted to do one after college,” said 24-year-old Starn. “I knew medical school was going to be hectic, so I wanted to do one sooner.”
Starn put the San Francisco event on the calendar and then worked back on her training regimen to prepare for the race.
The time frame was only six weeks, but considering she had been training for distance running for a while, it was such a big change.
“I was still running 55 miles a week,” Starn explained. “The biggest change was my long run. I went to 22 miles instead of 15 miles. I like the feeling of pushing myself.”
As the race got closer, Starn set some goals and a strategy had to be developed for that.
“I had been monitoring the results of the race for quite some time,” said Starn. “I knew the course was hilly for a marathon, so I set my goals knowing.”
The first goal was to break three hours.
“That was a big barrier,” she said. “A really solid time would be 2:55, and an incredible time would be 2:50. I did have some place goals, but I knew if I hit time goals it would be a top three finish.”
Then came race day.
“You never know who will show up on race day,” said Starn. “It turned out to be a very good field.”
Which in turn played into her strategy.
“I ran the first six miles with the top women and had the chance to talk to them about the trail,” Starn explained. “My overall plan was to go out conservatively, like 6:30-6:35 a mile. Once I’ve passed six miles, go with what seemed beneficial.”
Things were going so well that she started thinking about what she could do.
“On the 20th mile, I started counting where I could finish,” Starn said. “With six miles to go, I was feeling good and found that if I went under 6 minutes, I could get under the time I wanted to run.”
At that point, she had distanced herself from the other fighting women.
“I was running with some guys,” Starn said. “But I had no one to run with for the last two miles.”
It didn’t matter, as Starn crossed the line more than four minutes ahead of the second-placed woman, and as mentioned above, ninth overall in the race.
So what now?
“I plan to run a half marathon in the fall,” Starn said. “For years to come I still want to participate. (Running) helps with school – it’s a liberation for me.”
And future marathons? Having studied in the Boston area and now medical school in New York, there seems to be a logical choice for a few races.
“I want to run the New York and Boston marathons,” said Starn. ‘That’s a long-term goal. My mother has run Boston three times.”
Tri-Valley Babe Ruth 14s Heading to World Series
The Tri-Valley Babe Ruth 14 team won the Pacific Southwest Regionals with a 6-5 victory over the Hawaii team in the final.
Next up for the local team is a date at the Babe Ruth 14 World Series, August 11-21, in Williston, ND Watch for a preview of the team next week in this space!
Editor’s Note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sportswriter for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email: [email protected]