Sally Brent (born 9 October 1951) is an American long-distance running athlete who broke barriers for female runners in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[1][2] Brent was the winner of the inaugural Twin Cities Marathon in 1982, running the race in 2:43:50. Only a few other American women had breached the 2:45:00 mark in 1982,[3] and just seven years earlier, it had been the woman's world record.[4]

Early career

When Brent attended a Catholic high school in Pocahontas, Iowa, in the 1960s, the only athletic activity available to girls was cheerleading. Brent did not begin running until after her years at Wayne State College, when she was a smoker. She married and had children, and one day, she was encouraged to run a 10K road race. She completed the race, won second in her age group, and enjoyed the competition. Afterward, Brent set a goal of running the Drake Relays Marathon in Iowa.[5]

She trained by logging several 26 mile runs—a common training practice in the 1970s. In smaller races near her home of Sioux City, Iowa, her family would follow by car or bicycle, cheering her on.[6] Then, in Des Moines for the Drake Relays Marathon, she placed third in 3:18:37.[7] Within two weeks of finishing, she had run another: the Lincoln Marathon, coming in seventh.[8]

She raced in the 1980 Dallas Marathon, finishing 24th among women.[9] She ran the Omaha Marathon in 1981 as a relative unknown runner, but placed fourth among the women. She was eighth in the May 1981 Lincoln Marathon.[10] Then she finished 12th among women at the ’81 Dallas Marathon, and she set an age-group record for 30-year-old women with her time of 3:07:19.[11]

Career

After winning several other smaller races, Brent found a coach: Canadian Rob Kinnunen, himself a competitive runner.[12] On a training plan, she won the smaller University of Okoboji-Coors Marathon in 1982, finishing first in 3:08:54.[13] She raced a marathon in Rapid City, South Dakota, and broke the three-hour mark, finishing in third place.[14]

She returned to the Lincoln Marathon and finished behind Carol Hafeman for second place.[15] Still a relative unknown, she finished third in the Thunder Bay Half Marathon in September, and signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon in October.

The Minneapolis–Saint Paul region, north of Sioux City, had a marathon history that stretched back to 1963, when the race was called the “Land of Lakes Marathon.”[16] In 1976, it was renamed “City of Lakes Marathon,” and in 1981, both cities competed with their own marathons.[17] Instead of continuing the rivalry, race directors decided to combine into one race—and the Twin Cities Marathon was born in 1982.[18] Brent would be there on the starting line.

Heading into the first ever TCM, the 30-year-old mother of three children was gaining confidence.[19] She faced an international field drawn by a significant prize purse. Sissel Grottenberg had finished in the top 10 at Boston in 1981, Kersti Jacobsen was there from Denmark, and Jan Arenz (Yonkers Marathon and Land ‘o Lakes past winner) was also a favorite.[20][21] In decent running weather, 100,000 spectators lined the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul as the 4,000 runners moved through the cities. Brent took the lead and pulled ahead. As her coach screamed in joy from the side of the road, Brent crossed the finish line with a wide smile on her face. She won in 2:43:50 and took home a glass vase and a prize of $5,000.[22][23][24]

At the time, runners couldn’t take the prize money into their own bank accounts and maintain amateur status. She gave it to the Athletics Congress, which allowed her to use it for expenses without “going professional.”[23]

One month later, Brent was in Omaha, Nebraska, for the Riverfront Omaha Marathon. She paced Missourian Carol Hafeman and Maxine Johnson, who dropped off and finished more than 10 minutes behind her as she won the race in 2:48:45.[25][26] Her coach, Kinnunen, won for the men in 2:17:24.[27] After the race, she expressed joy in the win, but disappointment in her time.[28]

In January 1983, Brent went to Texas along with her coach. Both were running the Houston Marathon.[12] Brent finished in the top 10 with a time of 2:45:20, putting her again as one of the top runners in the nation (and netting her prize money).[1]

By the summer of 1983, Brent had a clothing sponsor and was getting shoes from Nike. The Twin Cities Marathon had Brent back in 1983 for their second official running, but this time, her picture was used on billboards and she was providing radio commentary for WCCO.

She finished off 1983's competitive season by traveling south to the Mississippi River delta and the New Orleans Marathon. She was named one of the favorites of the 1,000 runners, along with local runners Jenni Peters and the 1982 winner and Arkansas State University phenom Angela Pikschus. Peters went out fast, but faded later in the race. Pikschus ran a steady pace, and was acclimated to the heat, which Brent was not. Brent finished second, in 2:53:21.[29][30]

She raced Boston in 1984, finishing 31st among women in a time of 2:52:51.[31] She was at the 1985 Grandma's Marathon, finishing sub-3, placing 19th out of more than 700 women.[32] She went to Trinidad for a 10K in which she placed second.[33]

In 1988, Brent took third place in the Phoenix City Marathon in 2:53:23, behind Cynthia Gans and Harolene Walters.[34] She also raced Twin Cities again,[35] facing off against Janis Klecker, and the Lehane twins: Lesley and Lisa Welch Lehane.[36] But Brent didn't find the same success. She finished in 3:02:10, behind winner Kim Jones.[37]

In 1991, she was the master's champion at the Chicago Marathon,[38] finishing under 3 hours and netting $500.[39] She raced the City of Lakes 25K in 1992 and 1993,[40] where she was considered a top contender.[41][42] She placed as a top master in the Bix 7-mile[43] in Illinois and finished fourth in the Steamboat Springs Half Marathon in Colorado. By the mid-90s, she was continuing to compete at the master's level in local races.[44][45]

After her storied running career, Brent has been called an inspiration by other competitive runners.[46]

Personal life

Sally Brent is married to Rick; they have three children.[24] They own a real estate company in Colorado.[47][48]

Achievements

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1982 Lincoln Marathon Lincoln, Nebraska 2nd Marathon 3:01:30
1982 Coors Marathon Okoboji, Iowa 1st Marathon 3:08:54
1982 Black Hills Marathon Rapid City, South Dakota 3rd Marathon 2:55:15
1982 Thunder Bay Half Marathon Thunder Bay, Canada 3rd Half-Marathon 1:22:18
1982 Twin Cities Marathon Minneapolis, United States 1st Marathon 2:43:50
1982 Omaha Marathon Omaha, Nebraska 1st Marathon 2:48:45
1983 Mardi Gras Marathon Metairie, Louisiana 2nd Marathon 2:53:21
1983 Phoenix Marathon Phoenix, Arizona 3rd Marathon 2:53:23

*Citations: World Athletics, American Association of Road Racing Statisticians and the Lincoln Star

References

  1. ^ a b Ken Young; Andy Milroy, eds. (1 March 2021). "Sally Brent". Mattole Valley, California: Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Archived from the original on 2 March 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Sally Brent". Monaco: World Athletics. 1 March 2021. Archived from the original on 7 March 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  3. ^ John Auka; Stan Eales; Jack Pfeifer, eds. (23 December 1982). "1982 United States Marathon Lists" (PDF). 28 (20). Track Newsletter. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 March 2021. Retrieved 2 Mar 2021.
  4. ^ Robinson, Roger (12 November 2010). "Footsteps: The Miki Gorman Story". Runner's World. Archived from the original on 2 March 2021. Retrieved 1 Mar 2021.
  5. ^ Maly, Ron (3 June 1984). "S.C. marathoner Brent 'crazy' about running". Sports. Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Register. pp. 2, 34. Perhaps Brent should be labeled one of the best in the nation
  6. ^ Brown, Joel (28 November 1982). "Sally Brent meets Harrisburg-to-Sioux Falls challenge". Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Argus-Leader. p. 23.
  7. ^ "Drake Relays Marathon Man Really a 'Kid'". Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Tribune. 30 April 1979. p. 18.
  8. ^ Fastenau, Mary (29 June 1979). "See Sally Run". Sioux City, Iowa: Sioux City Journal. p. B1.
  9. ^ "11th Annual Dallas White Rock Marathon" (PDF). Dallas, Texas: Dallas White Rock Marathon. 6 December 1980. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Marathon: Top Women Finishers". Sports. Lincoln, Nebraska: Lincoln Star. 1 May 1981. p. 14.
  11. ^ "12th Annual Dallas White Rock Marathon" (PDF). Dallas, Texas: Dallas White Rock Marathon. 5 December 1981. pp. 8, 10, 11, 26. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Kinnunen wins Omaha Marathon". Sports. Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Argus-Leader. 7 November 1982. p. C1.
  13. ^ "Brent, Kinnunen win Okoboji runs". Sports. Sioux City, Iowa: Sioux City Journal. 25 July 1982. p. 4D.
  14. ^ "Ex-SCSU runner 2nd in marathon". Sports. Saint Cloud, Minnesota: The St. Cloud Times. 4 October 1982. p. 4D.
  15. ^ Svoboda, Gary (2 May 1982). "Fluitt surprises field, takes marathon title". Sports. Lincoln, Nebraska: The Lincoln Star. pp. 13, 14.
  16. ^ Brothers, Bruce (3 October 1982). "With marathon, state moves from dark ages". Outdoors. Star Tribune. p. 11C.
  17. ^ "Twin Cities Marathon". Minnesota Distance Running Association. 2021. Archived from the original on 2 March 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  18. ^ Benhardus, Kathryn (July–August 2010). Heidi Miler (ed.). "A Tale of Two Cities". Run Minnesota. 10 (6). Edina, Minnesota: Minnesota Distance Running Association. p. 26.
  19. ^ Candy, Patrin (November–December 2011). Heidi Miler (ed.). "A Tale of Two Cities". Run Minnesota. 10 (6). Edina, Minnesota: Minnesota Distance Running Association. p. 18.
  20. ^ "100,000 watch first Twin Cities Marathon". News. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Star Tribune. 4 October 1982. p. A1.
  21. ^ Brothers, Bruce (4 October 1982). "Dane Wins Marathon in 2:11:49; Iowan is fastest of women". Sports. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Star Tribune. p. D1.
  22. ^ "Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Weekend Media Guide" (PDF). Twin Cities In Motion. 5 October 2018. p. 37. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  23. ^ a b "Sioux City mother finishes 'high'". Sports. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Star Tribune. 4 October 1982. p. 8D.
  24. ^ a b Hersom, Terry (6 September 1982). "Brent wins race with 'lucky 13s'". sports. Sioux City, Iowa: Sioux City Journal. pp. C1.
  25. ^ Anderson, Tim (3 Nov 1983). "Marathon's 931 Runners to Pant Along the River". Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha World-Harald.
  26. ^ Olson, Eric (31 Oct 1987). "No Omahans Among Favorites: Riverfront Record May Be Broken". Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha World-Harald.
  27. ^ "Kinnunen wins title". Lincoln, Nebraska: Lincoln Journal Star. 7 November 1982.
  28. ^ "Sally Brent 'disappointed' with her marathon time". Sioux City, Iowa: Sioux City Journal. 9 November 1982.
  29. ^ Couret, Pat (January–February 1983). "Marathon Report". Footprints. New Orleans, Louisiana: New Orleans Track Club. pp. 21, 22.
  30. ^ "Brent gets 2nd at New Orleans". Sports. Sioux City, Iowa: Sioux City Journal. 24 February 1983. pp. C3.
  31. ^ "Running: 88th Boston Marathon". Sports. Hartford, Connecticut: Hartford Courant. 17 April 1984. p. D2.
  32. ^ "Grandma's Marathon 1985 Results". MTEC Results. 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  33. ^ "Brent runs race in Trinidad". Sports. Sioux City, Iowa: Sioux City Journal. 13 March 1985. pp. B2.
  34. ^ "Phoenix City Marathon". Phoenix, Arizona: Arizona Republic. 10 January 1988.
  35. ^ "Twin Cities Marathon Results". Sports. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Star Tribune. 3 October 1988. p. 13C.
  36. ^ Thurston, Ralph (25 September 1988). "There's Something for Everyone in TCM". Sports. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Star Tribune. p. 20C.
  37. ^ "Louisville Runner Wins Marathon". Sports. Denver, Colorado: Denver Post. 9 Oct 1989. p. 3C.
  38. ^ "Bank of America Chicago Marathon Official Media Guide" (PDF). Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Marathon. 2014. p. 128. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 March 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  39. ^ Jerry Wojcik, ed. (December 1991). "Masters Scene: Midwest" (PDF) (160). Van Nuys, California: National Masters News. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 Mar 2021. Retrieved 2 Mar 2021.
  40. ^ "Kenyan duo paces Lakes 25K". Sports. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Star Tribune. 4 September 1992.
  41. ^ Hobbs, M. (13 September 1992). "The Fitz Gets Bigger". Sports. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Star Tribune.
  42. ^ "No Runaway Favorites for City of Lakes". Sports. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Star Tribune. 11 September 1993.
  43. ^ "Bix Results: Bix 7 Women". Sports. Moline, Illinois: The Dispatch. 25 July 1993. p. E2.
  44. ^ Jerry Wojcik, ed. (July 1994). "Masters Scene: Midwest" (PDF) (191). Van Nuys, California: National Masters News. p. 34. Retrieved 2 Mar 2021.
  45. ^ Svoboda, Gary (4 May 1987). "Fluitt ends marathon career with a big win". Sports. Lincoln, Nebraska: Lincoln Journal Star. pp. 17, 20.
  46. ^ Allspach, Steven (29 September 1994). "Dogwood City final port on Kruse cruise?". Sports. Sioux City, Iowa: Sioux City Journal. pp. D1.
  47. ^ "Sally Brent". thegroupinc.com. Loveland, Colorado. 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  48. ^ "The Brent Team". 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.