Amy Palmiero-Winters Wins ARR Run to the Future 24 hr race
and qualifies for the able bodied U.S. national team-2010 World 24-Hour Run Championships
By: Dan Brannen
In a stunning development to open the new year and new decade, a female below-the-knee amputee was the overall winner (among men and women) in the Run to the Future 24-Hour race in Glendale, Arizona on Dec 31-Jan 1, and appears to have qualified for the U.S. national team to the 2010 World 24-Hour Run Championship.
Amy Palmiero-Winters, 37, of Hicksville, N.Y., who runs with a custom-made prosthesis, entered the race with the intention of making the Open, able-bodied U.S. national team to the World 24-Hour, which will be held in France in May 2010. Her previous longest race was the Heartland 100 Mile in Cassoday, Kansas in October, in which she finished 8th overall and first female. For that achievement, she was named USA Track & Field's "Athlete of the Week" on October 21.
Palmiero-Winters' left leg was crushed in a 1994 motorcycle accident. After 25 surgeries and a below-the-knee amputation in 1997, the former high school track and swimming star began a decade-long rehabilitation which led to triathlons, marathons and eventually ultramarathons. The mother of two set her sights on making the national women's ultra team (the 2009 team earned the silver medal at the World 24-Hour Run Championship), a goal requiring her to achieve a distance greater than 129.6 miles by the end of the qualifying period, which closed on January 1, 2010. The Run to the Future event commenced on December 31, 2009 at 9:00am, and finished exactly 24 hours later. The qualifying standard was the most demanding ever for the women's national 24-hour run squad, as the quality of American women's performances for the all-day / all-night running event was the highest in 2009 than in any previous year.
Usually the USA produces one or two women per year over the 130 mile threshold, which is commonly accepted in international ultra circles as defining "world class" among able-bodied athletes. Palmiero-Winters, who was the overall winner of the Run to the Future - almost 14 miles ahead of the first man, racked up 130.04 miles to become the fifth U.S. woman to break the world-class barrier in the past year, and the final qualifier to make the 6-woman squad which will represent the USA in France this May.