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72-year-old runs up Empire State Building

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Ginette Bedard was the 52nd runner out of the 77 women who ran to reach the 86th floor observatory, with a time of 22:16 minutes. Out of the 226 men and women who ran, she placed 141st.Competitors in the Empire State Building Run-Up must climb 1,576 steps to reach the finish line-or floor, in this case-a total of 1,050 feet from the lobby to the observatory. The record winning time for women is held by the 26-year-old runner Andrea Mayr, who won the Run-Up this year with a time of 11:23.Bedard described the event as "a very nice experience, very interesting." In an interview before the event, she said she thought she would do well. She runs 15 to 16 miles daily and has competed in four New York City Marathons. "I'm a little bit stressed," she said, "because it's going to be my first time and I don't know what to expect, but it's another experience."Bedard was born in Metz, France and moved to New York in 1962. She lived in Ozone Park until 1972, when she moved to Howard Beach with her husband after finding a job at Kennedy Airport. She worked in public relations with Alitalia airlines until her retirement in 1993.For her morning runs, she prefers Frank Charles Park, located on Jamaica Bay, and she runs on the sand "when the tides are low." Running has always been an important part of her life. "I've been running for the last 35 years," she said. "I was always athletic. I got particularly inspired by the old TV program 'Jack LaLanne.'"She ran 10 miles daily when she worked at Alitalia, getting up at 3 a.m. to do so and going to work at 8 a.m. After her retirement, she increased her daily distance to 15 miles.Her husband is 80 and also runs. Bedard has two children and two grandchildren and said they are proud of her for continuing to run.She also gave credit for inspiration to Al Puma, a fellow member of the New York Roadrunners Club. "He got me inspired. He's also the one who got me all these phone calls and interviews," she said, laughing. Her training for the Empire State Run-Up was simple. "I did one training and I did very well. I ran to the top of the Marriott Hotel [on West Street in lower Manhattan] last Saturday. It was not that difficult-you catch your breath when you reach each floor."Despite the media coverage of her achievements, including a photo in a November 2005 issue of Sports Illustrated, Bedard said she tends to be a low-key presence at races. "I don't really deal much with the other runners. Some give me praise. Most of them don't even know me."Still, she said, "I admire everyone who's running because it's hard work. I do it every morning, but nobody tells me to do it. It's a wonderful thing in life to do. I wish more people would be inspired to do it. We would have a healthier America. It takes a lot of willpower and determination."

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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