Due to COVID-19, many springtime races were canceled or postponed – a devastating blow to the motivation of runners across the world. This year’s Boston Marathon, slated to take place on April 20th, was no exception. The legendary marathon is now scheduled for Monday, September 14th. In an effort to keep motivation high, we have published the final three athlete spotlights, featuring race team members Janet Bensley, Tina Slagel, and Kevin Fitzgerald.

Tina Slagel has been running casually since her senior year in college, but started taking running seriously after she was in a bike accident (bike vs. truck) and the doctors told her that she would not ever run again. Not one to back away from a challenge, Tina set her sights on running a marathon and qualifying for Boston, which she ultimately did!
Tina, 32, is originally from California, moved to Asheville in June of 2018, taking the position of Assistant Winemaker at Biltmore. Since relocating she started running with the Maggots for the track workouts and has found the running community in Asheville to be both friendly and challenging!  

 Tina has completed a total of 4 marathons since being told she would never run again,  including the 2018 Boston Marathon where she “clawed” her way to a 3:59 finish having broken a toe just one week before the run and arriving with her foot in a boot and using crutches to get around. She survived not only the injury to her foot, but the extreme weather (torrential rains, cold temps) on race day, knowing that her family was on the course waiting to cheer her across the finish line.  She crossed the finish line at the exact time that a moment of silence was being held for the 2013 bombing victims, a pretty emotional event on an eventful day.

 Tina ran the California International Marathon in December of 2018 in a PR time of 3:16 to punch a return ticket to Boston in 2020.

Tina’s best marathon training tip? “Train the mental game as well as the physical. If your mind isn’t ready to suffer, you won’t be able to ask your body to suffer.” 

Tina’s favorite shoe and why?  “I run in New Balance Zante v4 shoes (now discontinued). They are light, fast, not very cushioned. I know I can expect results from those shoes.” 

Tina’s pre marathon/race day routine? “Well, I have picked up a couple traditions along the way, first is breaking all the rules but I do it anyways… a glass of red wine with spaghetti the night before a race. Being a winemaker, wine is always in meals (especially if my family is there) and now it’s just turned into a tradition. I will run a couple fun miles the day before a race just to get the jitters out and settle myself. And race day, I usually have some pretty good motivating music on my headphones, just try to spend some time visualizing the race.” 

What are you most looking forward to if this is your first Boston Marathon? “I am in awe of the number of people there. Spectators line the course from start to finish, you are never alone out there on the course. Truly spectacular!” 

Anything else you think folks would find interesting? “There is a solid group of female runners in Asheville that are committed to supporting each other in the pursuit of our Boston dreams. This is an incredible place to call home for the running community.” 

 

Stay tuned over the next few months as we continue our series featuring Jus’ Running Race Team’s Boston Marathon runners! Thanks to Kevin Fitzgerald (also a Jus’ Running Race Team member!) for his help in compiling this post.