Sunday, December 6, 2015

Getting faster with age - Nora Cary

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, December 06, 2015



Like wine, Nora Cary keeps getting better with age.  Cary who lives in Morristown was a fast 59 year old in 2014 but she is burning up the roads in 2015.  Despite her protestations that it is maybe the age grading that is enhancing her performances, she is one fast woman.

To put her protestations to rest – in 2015 she broke 21 minutes for a 5K at the Fitzgerald’s Lager Run, something she had not done in the several years of racing.  At the President’s Cup Night Race in Millburn at age 57 she was timed in 21:03 and at the Jimmy D 5K in New Brunswick she was 21 flat.  But 20:39 at the Lager run at age 60?  That’s what I call getting faster.  In fact that may have been her highest PLP age graded performance at 89.66%.

At most of her races this season she has been at the top of the age grading.  For instance she hit 88.33% this year at the Giralda Farms 10K for her 44:01.  It is one of her favorite races and runs it every year.

“I really like the race and it is close to where I live,” she said.

The 10K may be a favorite race, but her favorite distance is the half marathon.  She posted a 1:38:43 at the Newport half in Jersey City in September.

So where did this speedy girl come from?  Well she has been running for most of her life, first as Nora Gibbons, and after meeting her future husband at the Hash House Harriers in Summit and taking his name, as Nora Cary.  Her husband Dave was once an ultra runner but now is on the sidelines due to knee issues.  He is an enthusiastic supporter of his wife and their three kids who all ran track and cross country with a lot of success for Morristown High School.  Alex graduated in 2013 and went on to run for two years at the College of New Jersey, Brian and Emma graduated this past June.

“They were fortunate because Morristown High School has a great program and great coaching.” Cary said.  “We really enjoyed watching them compete in High School and continue to enjoy college running.”

Emma Cary now runs at Sacred Heart University which prompted Nora to run at the national masters 5km cross country meet in nearby Saratoga this past October.   Up against the best W60 women in the country Cary placed third and took home a bronze.

“Once my kids were older and I had more time I began running with a group and racing more,” she said.

Cary met Mark Washburne at one of the cross country races that are held at Central Park – Greystone in Morris Plains in 2010.  Soon she was running with the Do Run Runners and is a valuable team member – on the W50 team.

“That has definitely made it more enjoyable,” said Cary.

Cary gets in most of her mileage which she says is just over 30 miles per week on the weekends. 

Saturday’s she runs with the Do Run group from Freedom Park in Randolph.  When she is not racing on a Sunday morning she joins with a small group of runners known casually as the Turtle Runners. 

 “It is an informal group with no USATF affiliation but a lot of talent,” she said.  “They give me a good workout.”

Cary relies on her races and her group runs to get fit to race.  “I’ve never been on a track,” she said.  “I wouldn’t know what to do.”

On November 22nd, Cary and her fellow Turtle runners ran the Philadelphia marathon or half marathon to support Massoud Messkoub of Morris Township who was running - his 70th marathon on his 70th birthday.

Messkoub finished his marathon in 5:00:25 (chip time was 4:57:46). Cary finished the half marathon in 1:39:11 (chip time was 1:38:05). 

Cary seems to be able to handle any distance from 5K to a marathon.  The 2015 racing season will start in March in New Jersey.  How much faster will she get before the aging factor kicks in?  Only time will tell.

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Contact Madeline Bost at

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