Sarah Lavender Smith January 13, 2014 TWEET COMMENTS 3

Smile Away the Miles - Page 3

She also retains a youthful pleasure with her running. “My mom never would let us get dirty. We were poor and didn’t have much in the way of clothes, so we took care of what we had,” she recalls. “So now if I can run and it’s pouring rain and I’m sloshed with mud, and I have the wind hit me with force, I really like that.”

Gosney is famous among Northern California trail runners not just for her age and litany of races, but also for her smile. Her friend Stan Jensen, a longtime ultrarunner and founder of Run100s.com, says that when she comes through aid stations, “She’s always looking tired, dusty and often bloody, yet always with that wonderful smile.”

Jensen met her in 1993 at his first ultra, the American River 50, where “she beat me by about 15 minutes, although she was 11 years older. I remember being passed by an older woman and wondered what her secret was.”

The act of smiling is part of her secret. Gosney says it’s a coping mechanism: “They say that if you smile, things aren’t as bad as you might think they are—somehow, smiling just makes things better.”

Gosney gives back to her friends in the ultrarunning community by hosting a small, by-invitation-only 50K each March on the same day as the Way Too Cool 50K. Hers is called “The Uncool 50K.”

She tends to run the same races repeatedly, because she prefers to stay within driving distance of her house. She ran the American River 50-miler 20 times, for example.

Asked if she ever feels burned out from repeating the same segments on familiar trails, she says, “Once in a while I do, but by the end of the race, I’m so glad I did it that I often break down and cry. I’m just grateful I can still get to the finish line.”


Sarah Lavender Smith blogs at TheRunnersTrip.com.


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