Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Laurie Hanscom, 44 of Eden Prairie, is another one of Minnesota's consistent Masters runners - especially when it comes to the marathon. Laurie has averaged better than three marathons per year during the last 8 years and it always seems like she's 2-3 minutes on either side of 3 hours. And her shorter distance events helped GEAR when the Women's Masters division of the Team Circuit, as well as place her near the top of the Runner of the Year rankings for 40-44 year olds. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Kryduba.)

When and how did you get involved with running?
I ran CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) track in grade school. I continued running track in junior high and high school.

Congratulations on being part of the winning Hood-to-Coast relay team this summer. Was that your first H2C experience or is it something you try to participate in every year?
Thank you. No, I have run on this team for 7 of the past 8 years, and am signed up to run the 2008 H2C.

You guys won the 178-mile event by just a handful of seconds. That had to be exciting. Can you tell us a little bit about the race?
We were competing against a team we have run against the past several years, and have beaten. Last year we beat them by something like 10 minutes, but we didn’t start at the same time, so we never knew till the end of the race how close it had been. This year, we started at the same time and we were neck and neck the whole way! On a few occasions we had built a 10-12 minute lead, but they always came back to close the gap. When it came down to our last runner, we had about a 10 minute lead, but knew several times they had closed a similar gap. Their last runner was an extremely strong runner, and she was steadily making up ground.

When the last runner gets to the boardwalk at Seaside, they announce your team, so the other team members can run in with their last runner. They announced our team (Baba Yaga), but within a couple of seconds they announced the second place team. Their last runner was coming in fast, right on the heals of our anchor runner. Our last runner did awesome and we held on to win by 6-7 seconds. It was amazing. There was a lot of drama! We have won this race several times in the women’s open division, but this was by far the sweetest victory!

A quick search of shows that you’ve run 20 marathons in the last 8 years, all between 2:58 and 3:12. What do you attribute your consistency to?
I’ve actually run 25 marathons in the past 8 years and just one before that for a total of 26. As far as consistency, I typically just do base running in the winter, and very little if any racing. That gives my body a break and hopefully helps to stave off injury. If you are able to avoid injuries, I think it helps with your consistency.

Those results also show that you seem to be running better as a Master than you did in your late 30s. Would you agree with that and, if so, was there a conscious effort to step up your training?
I think overall I ran some of my best times in my early 40s. I did not make a conscious effort to step up my training, but I have learned to listen to my body and take breaks or easy days when necessary.

On numerous occasions you ran two marathons in the fall. What’s the key to well in two fall marathons?
I personally like to do 2 marathons 3-4 weeks apart in the fall if possible. It is great when TCM and Chicago land that way like they did last year. The reason I like it is because you basically get a two-for-one, provided your body recovers OK from the first marathon. All you have to do is just taper again, without all the wear and tear (not to mention the time) of training again. This approach does not work for everyone, but so far every time I’ve had the opportunity to do it, it has proven to be a good experience. This is one of those times you really need to listen to your body though, because doing two marathons so close together can definitely increase the risk of injury.

Do you have plans to run another marathon this fall or winter?
I’m not sure yet.

This year, like many Minnesotans, you ran two hot weather marathons. Obviously, the conditions at Grandma’s and TCM this year made it hard to run fast. Do you find that frustrating or do you just readjust your goal and try to make the best of it?
Yes, I have found it very frustrating, but have learned to readjust my goals and make the best of it. I will say it feels like more of an accomplishment to finish a marathon under some of these more challenging conditions, then it does when the weather is more conducive, despite the slower times. I have learned more about myself under those conditions than when everything is clicking and the weather is cooperating. Although, I will say, we are overdue for a decent weather marathon here in Minnesota.

What are your PRs?
I seem to have one pace and that is my marathon pace. My marathon PR is 2:55. My half marathon PR is actually within my marathon PR and is around 1:23. My 10K PR is 38:15 and my 5K PR is 18:10.

Do you tend to follow any certain training program? What is your training philosophy?
I tend to do the same training schedule for each marathon, but try to mix it up a little when I get bored. In the summer I try to race as much as my schedule allows, as that is the only time I run with other people. Because I do so much of my training alone, I really crave and enjoy the social aspect of racing.

What do you consider your strengths? Weaknesses?
I believe my strengths lie in my consistency. My weaknesses relate back to the fact that I only seem to have one pace as previously mentioned. I would love to bring down my times in the shorter distances, but since I always seem to be training for a marathon, it is a challenge to work on the shorter distances.

What is your fondest running memory?
I have so many fond memories of running, it is hard to pick just one. A recent fond memory would be this year’s Race for the Cure. I ran it with my 10-year old daughter, and it was her first 5K. I am so used to focusing on my time that I tend to miss the sights and sounds of a race. I had the most enjoyable time running at my daughter’s pace and taking in everything around us. She ran her first 5K in 26 minutes. It was a lot of fun for the both of us.

Do you have a favorite local and/or national race?
I would have to say TCM.

If you could run with any Minnesotan, past or present, who would it be?
Janice Klecker. Janice and I have crossed paths on a few occasions over the past several years. She has accomplished so much, yet she is so grounded and humble.

Finally, what do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started running?
With age comes wisdom and confidence. I wish I had more of both when I was a younger runner.

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