Emily Infeld may be 37 kilometers behind her father, but she’ll always be ahead of him.
As riddles go, it’s not a hard one to solve: On Saturday, Infeld the younger will be among the top contenders in the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K; on Sunday, Infeld the younger will run in his first ING New York City Marathon.
It’s been a good autumn of racing for Emily Infeld in her first year as a professional, with a pair of impressive runner-up finishes in recent road races. On September 22, the 2012 NCAA Champion at 3000 meters indoors ran 15:31 to place second in the USA 5K Championships in Providence, RI, and then on Columbus Day she stormed to a 31:47 in the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women, the fastest 10K by an American woman at that distance on the roads since Deena Kastor in 2004. The performances marked her first-ever road races at those distances.
Dr. Michael Infeld will be running his first ING New York City Marathon, and his 35th overall. Earlier this year, he finished the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in 3:46:43, and the Akron Marathon in 3:38:34.
“If Emily and I ever run in the same marathon, I am sure she will be so far ahead of me that I will have to get her take on the race long after she finishes,” he wrote in an email, adding that he hopes to run in the vicinity of 3:30.
For now, Emily Infeld is concentrating on shorter distances, although perhaps not as short as she might have predicted: A 1500-meter runner for Georgetown University, where she was an 11-time All-American, Infeld finished fourth last winter in the USA Cross Country Championships, her first-ever 8K, earning a spot on Team USA for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Infeld said that she was excited about her time for the 10K, albeit not right away.
“I guess I didn’t really know what it meant,” she said in a telephone interview last week. “I was going for the win. It took me a bit to process it, but [then] I was really happy.”
The race was won by Sentayehu Ejigu, a 2004 Olympian from Ethiopia, in 31:33, which broke a 24-year-old course record. Infeld’s time was just seven seconds off the old mark.
Dr. Infeld, a pulmonologist in Cleveland, OH, had taken a long break from running after high school, but he said that “after watching my daughters [Emily and her older sister, Maggie] get into cross country and track in middle school, it rekindled my love of running when I saw how much fun they were having.” He ran his first marathon in 1999. His wife, Sue, also hit the marathon trail.
Maggie Infeld, 27, went on to become a nine-time Ohio state high school champion and a four-time All-American at Georgetown. She took a leave from medical school to train for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, where she finished seventh at 1500 meters.
The youngest Infeld sister, Lucy, a senior at Ohio State University, recently ran her first half-marathon.
“All of our vacations are based off of people going for different meets,” Emily Infeld said, adding that she’s “super-excited” about her father’s first run through the five boroughs. “I think he’ll do pretty well. He’s always a tough competitor.”
She’s not sure yet about where she and her family will be along the marathon course, but said that a training partner has promised to give her a tip.
“Shalane [Flanagan, who placed second here in her marathon debut in 2010] was telling me, ‘Oh, I know the best spot to watch, where it really starts to hurt and you need someone to be cheering for you.’ So that will be perfect. We’ll go there. I’ll take it from her.”
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg