By Karen Brainard
Describing herself as "very, very poorly coordinated," adding with a chuckle, "ask my granddaughters," Kathy Carpenter has finally found a sport in which she can excel.
The 71-year-old Ramonan has been running half marathons and just completed the Triple Crown — a trio of half marathons in San Diego County. She took first place among women in the 70-74 age division for each race.
"I'm just having fun," Carpenter said.
Sunday, Aug. 17, was the last of the Triple Crown races. Called America's Finest City Half Marathon, the 13.1-mile race took runners from Point Loma to the Embarcadero and through downtown San Diego to finish in Balboa Park.
"It was a horrible hot day," said Carpenter, who noted that her time of 2:38 was not her best.
She said her time of 2:09 in June during San Diego Rock 'n' Roll half marathon was her best.
"I really felt good after that one. But it was a cooler day," she noted.
Residents of San Diego Country Estates may have seen Carpenter on her early morning practice runs.
"I try to run almost every day," she said.
Most days she runs four to five miles, but one day a week she likes to run five to eight miles, she said.
Carpenter credits her granddaughter, Athena Kendzor, for getting her started with running half marathons four years ago.
Athena was in third grade then and participating in the running club at James Dukes Elementary School. When Athena asked her grandmother to run laps around the school track with her, Carpenter decided she could do that.
"My granddaughter in third grade did 100 miles for the school year. So she inspired me to run," said Carpenter.
"I have absolutely no athletic background. That's one reason why I started running," she said. "I do like to stay in shape."
This year Carpenter decided to run the Triple Crown — the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January, the La Jolla Half Marathon in April, and the Aug. 17 half marathon in San Diego.
She received a medal for completing the Triple Crown and was the first of eight finishers in her division at the Aug. 17 race.
Carpenter said she's not really a fast runner but can keep up a pace and pass up others in her age group.
"I'm just thrilled," she said.
Carpenter has the support of her husband, Bill, and many other family members, some of whom run with her in the Bolt to the Q 5K every July.
Now that she's finished the Triple Crown, Carpenter said she will probably give herself a break, but will continue to try inspiring her grandchildren to run.