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Older Women: See How They Run

More magazine and New York Road Runners have teamed up to present the first marathon for women 40 and older this Sunday in New York City's Central Park.

Women younger than 40 who want to participate can team up with a family member or friend who is 40 or older and run the half marathon as a two-person team, running 13.1 miles side-by-side.

Nancy Hallock took up running at age 44 and lost 70 pounds as a result. She tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm, "I had spent my 30s gaining weight and raising children. And decided that would be a quick and easy way - well, easy way- to lose the weight. So I just started very gradually. I started just on a treadmill, running a minute at a time and then gradually increasing the length of time I could run until I got so I could go the distance."

Nancy Hallock will be running with her 23-year-old daughter Erica, who also loves to run.

"I've always been a runner, too, and I ran track in high school," Erica says and notes about her mom, "She was very inspiring to watch. It was a big change in her. It's great that we're able to run this together because I think it's a culmination of a lot of hard work. I think it will be exciting."

Erica Hallock was hospitalized with Crohn's disease last year, and this marathon is a celebration of her recovery. She says, "I had several surgeries and complications. A year ago this time I really couldn't get out of the hospital bed. I had to learn to kind of teach myself how to walk and run again. First I practiced going to the end of the driveway, then the end of the street and then around the block. Eventually, I got so I was running again and now I'm doing this half marathon with my mom."

Interestingly enough, this marathon was launched by two non-runners: More's editor-in-chief Susan Crandell and the group publisher of the magazine. "The magazine is for women in their 40s and 50s," says Crandell. "We were doing a spirit of adventure issue and we wanted to do something that really expressed the spirit of this crowd, that they're strong, they're confident and they can go the distance."

She points out women in the 40s actually form a large segment of the competitive running population. She says, "These women can really go the distance. Last year at the New York Citymarathon, 25 percent of the women finishers were over 40, so it's a crowd who know where they're headed."

Running is really a sport where, Storm notes, confidence, experience and maturity really come into play and Crandell agrees.

"I think it's a head game as well as your body," she says. "And, you know, we can put that all together. And women in this age group are really interested in health and fitness and want to stay strong."

Women who will be 40 or older by March 21, 2004, can register to run the full marathon as an individual OR register to run 13.1 miles with a partner. Women who are younger than 40 can register to run 13.1 miles with a partner who will be 40 or older by March 21, 2004. Runners serving as partners to eligible runners must be at least 12 years old. Race registration runs through March 20, 2004.

Entrants, whether running the full- or half-marathon, must finish the race within the time allotted: 6 hours, 30 minutes. Walking is permitted.

Crandell says, "We have over 2,300 women coming on Sunday to run the half and the whole. What I hear from all of the women I've talked to so far is they're happy to be in a group of women, to look around and see faces like theirs and feel the power of the group."