Natick researcher helps Army to marathon silver medal
November 2, 2012
Maria Urso of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine helped the All-Army women's team to a second-place finish in the Armed Forces Marathon Championship, held Oct. 28 as part of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.
Urso, a research physiologist at USARIEM and a captain in the Army Reserve, ran a time of 3 hours, 12 minutes, 44 seconds as Army posted a combined 5:59:27 for its top four runners. Air Force won the championship with a time of 5:52:55.
Army claimed the men's championship with a time of 9:44:24.
"The team did really well," Urso said. "We actually had (Army World Class Athlete Program) athletes this year."
The 36-year-old Urso placed fifth in the women's 35-39 age group, 41st among all women participants and 385th overall. It was her fourth MCM appearance and her 29th marathon since she began running the distance in 1998.
Urso owns a marathon personal record of 3:07:21 set at the 2008 Boston Marathon. Her time of 3:11:22 in the 2009 MCM was the best among Army women.
"While I didn't get my PR, I bounced back quickly and had minimal post-race soreness," said Urso of this year's race. "I guess that was where the training helped me out."
Prior to the race, Urso had set a goal of 3:05.
"I thought I would be more upset about missing my goal time, but the truth is, I have no regrets," Urso said. "I trained hard and showed up to the race ready to go. It just wasn't my day."
Perhaps, but Urso is nothing if not consistent when she runs the MCM.
"I think it is funny that no matter what I do, what the weather is, or how my day is, I have run this course four times, all within two minutes of each other," Urso said. "If you think about it, that is less than four seconds per mile different!"
According to Urso, there was a sense of urgency in the MCM as Hurricane Sandy spun its way toward the East Coast and brought windy conditions to the course.
"The race itself had an eerie tone, as if we were running just to beat the hurricane," Urso said. "All we kept hearing was that the winds were going to pick up, so move fast. That energy certainly drove me up that last hill. As usual, the support from the crowds and the Marines was incredible."