The Magic of Mammoth Part II: The Original Legend Still on Top, by Cait Chock

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Andrew & Deena Kastor a few years ago, photo by PhotoRun.net 


The Magic of Mammoth is a series, written by Cait Chock on the second era at the city of Mammoth, California and the emergence of the ASICS Mammoth Track Club. Andrew & Deena Kastor.

Deena Kastor had told me earlier this year, after a talk she gave to Fleet Feet Chicago runners, that she had to hold herself back in Philly during her half marathon triumph. 

That sense of control will be tested in NYC this coming weekend. Deena is obviously in shape to run well in the Big Apple. She wants a 2:25. And she could become the fastest women's master's runner in NY history, surpassing Priscilla Welch, who won the NYC Marathon in 1987. 

The Magic of Mammoth Part II: The Original Legend Still on Top

By: Cait Chock



Deena Kastor. The name warrants a sentence unto itself. The passion both she and husband, Andrew Kastor, bring to the sport far exceeds that of personal endeavors, and when Team Kastor officially took over the ASICS Mammoth Track Club they had a clear vision of how they would continue to shape the world of running. The mission has always been to produce the Nation's best half and full marathon athletes but, "This approach has changed since Deena and I took over the club from Terrence Mahon in November 2012," explains Andrew. "Deena and I both agreed that we knew the marathon very well and could pass along useful info and tips to young, aspiring marathon runners." No arguments there.


Though, being that the running community spans far beyond the apex of the sport, what one should note is that the MTC is also working to target runners of all abilities and breed an enthusiasm for the sport in the next generation of runners.


Andrew coaches the MTC elites but also makes himself available to any runner wanting to improve through his online coaching website. The professional runners of MTS meet every day for their workouts and there is also the standing invitation for any runner to come meet for a run under a general membership team. ASICS MTC recognizes that spreading an appreciation for running is not limited to only the fastest of times, but rather, the individual motivated to work on bettering their personal bests and achieving goals higher than they previously thought possible. And the stronger the running community is as a whole, that interest will spill over into greater cheers for the runners at the highest level. Everything comes full circle.


Balancing a deeper involvement in the sport, namely more paperwork and office hours, with her own training and motherhood, Deena's priorities may have shifted and expanded but her competitive edge and the amount of focus she brings to each runs has not. Her day does not revolve solely around her own running anymore and she's fine with that, if not even happier.


Now as a Masters, Deena proved she is still on top of her game and on top regardless of the age of her competition. As the first American finisher at the 2014 Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon on September 21st Deena clocked a 1:09:39. She not only set a new World Masters Record but amassed four more along the way, "I feel great to have raced the Philly Rock 'n' Roll half and have surpassed my goal of running the Masters World Record by achieving records along the way. I didn't know the race directors had certified distances in route, so the news of 5 World Records later that day was a huge surprise," shares Deena.


Overcoming the excruciating pain of a side stitch that started at mile six and haunted her throughout the race, Deena focused on the goal at hand and once again demonstrated the kind of gritty runner she is. "It doesn't matter the focus, a record, a win, a just get through this, a bucket list race, etc., it feels good to accomplish a goal. Any time we reach a goal, it is gratifying; but of course I woke up the next morning excited to chase my next goal, the New York Marathon," says Deena.


Which brings us to November 2nd, the TCS New York City Marathon. Already distinguishing itself as the deepest American field ever assembled on the women's side, Deena will be joined by her ASICS MTC teammate, Lauren Kleppin, and fellow Americans Kara Goucher and Des Linden. Another Masters and fellow mother, Blake Russell, will also be on the line during her own comeback year.


And yet, as always, Deena has eyes only on running her own race, "I'm thrilled with my training and excited for the 26.2 mile distance. My year has been filed with great training and a camaraderie with my Mammoth Track Club teammates that have me living with extreme gratitude and I attribute this to a successful year as a Masters athlete." 


And if history is indication, any race run on Deena's terms is one destined to be spectacular. 


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Caitlin Chock (caitchock.com) set the then National High School 5k Record (15:52.88) in 2004. A freelance writer, artist, and designer she writes about all things running and founded Ezzere, her own line of running shirts (www.ezzere.com). You can read more, see her running comics, and her shirts at her website.

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