Though Edmond’s Catherine Lisle tracked down North Liberty, Iowa’s Danielle Hodge in the final stride to win the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Sunday, Hodge, 28, actually wasn’t the one on the front end.
“She (Hodge) passed me at mile 20,” Lisle said. “She looked so smooth and strong and I thought she was gone. I thought for sure she was going to just sail on in.”
But Lisle, 31, the mother of a pair of daughters ages 2 and 1, got a glimmer of hope seeing media tracking Hodge and Lisle knew she was closing on in.
“When I saw her again, I saw the media trucks; it gave me a little bit of hope,” she said. “I felt like I could force my body into another level of pain. I wanted to see what I could do.”
In the final 200 yards, Hodge appeared she felt she was going to cruise home, unaware of Lisle gaining ground. It appeared Lisle was going to pass, but Hodge was surprised and kicked it to another level putting space between the pair.
Hodge’s steps became shorter and Lisle made a mad charge in the waning yards and nosed her adversary by a fraction of a second, 3:09:14.27-3:09:14.37.
“I was just so excited to see what I could make my body do,” Lisle said. “I’m still humble, too. It definitely worked out well and there was Divine intervention.”
Trekking the 26.5 miles is painful enough, but to get into a head-to-head battle for a win is just that much more draining. But Lisle, a former All-American at the University of Oklahoma in the distance medley relay, looked elsewhere for strength as legs grew weary.
“The banners of the victims are perfectly placed,” she said. “I don’t know if they were strategically placed but it kept me going.
“I even saw runners with pics of victims on their backs. In my Bible study two people had someone in the bombing and they were thankful I ran.
“I’m really glad to be a part of it. I think it changed my life. The people that were physically changed and what I can do with my body.
“I know that comes from something other than me.”
Amazingly, Lisle won the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon by .01 over Jenny Graef in 2010. And, her husband, Stuart, placed fourth Sunday in the men’s division. Stuart graduated from Edmond Memorial High School and in the 2009-10 school year, Catherine coached cross country and track at Memorial. She graduated from Enid High School.
The couple plans on running next in the Okie Relays across the Oklahoma panhandle at the end of May.