Voices of the Bay

Crossing the Finish Line

Susan Rancourt of Warren on the importance of cross-training and a runner’s happiest place on earth


Is 2018 the year you want to cross the finish line in a 5K, half or full marathon? With a pair of comfortable and properly fitted sneakers and a training plan, Warren resident and six-time Boston Marathon finisher Susan Rancourt argues, you can achieve your goal in the most beautiful place in the world for a runner: our own East Bay.

Susan and her business partner Karen Zyons established Rhode Races & Events (RunRI.US) in 2015, which specializes in half and full marathons and events like BWEF’s Food Truck 5K/10K (the company donates its services to benefit the Bristol Warren Education Foundation) held in Warren every May.

A graduate of URI with a degree in textile marketing, Susan ran cross country and track and rowed for the Rams. She recently completed her first season as head coach for the Mt. Hope High School Girls Cross Country team which went 8–5; it was the first time since 2009 that the entire team qualified for the RI State Cross-Country Championships. Susan and her husband Gino are parents to Riley and Cameron. Susan can be contacted at 401-427-7764.

For beginners I recommend The Jeff Galloway Run Walk Run method, which is online. It helps mentally with short goals. Runner’s World magazine’s website has training plans and shows race courses. I tell runners who want to increase mileage that they don’t need to run six days a week or a lot of miles. Instead, cross-train: Run three to four days. Other days go to the pool, get on a bike and do yoga – which is so important, whether you run or not. Running with others can help with staying motivated. Our Newport Race in April has a 5K, half and full marathon so start training now and you will be ready!

I always say the happiest place on earth is the finish line. I see people take six or seven hours to finish a race who are in pain and limping. I ask them if they are okay and they tell me they have overcome weight or addiction and to cross the finish line has been their lifelong goal. When they do, it’s their chance to feel like a Super Bowl athlete. There are tears of joy. At the last marathon, we had two proposals at the finish line!

As a mother of boys, I always heard that there was drama with girls. But the Mt. Hope girls were always positive and never complained. Running is very empowering for young women to improve self-esteem. I tell the girls it is great therapy. Unlike other sports, you can run anywhere and you don’t need anyone else. Just put on a pair of shoes and go run. –Nina Murphy