Carol Dellinger did not start running with lofty goals in mind, but you better believe she’s found them along the way. As a recreational softball player in her twenties, “I thought I should start working on endurance so I could turn some of my singles into doubles,” she says. One new pair of shoes and a couple miles later, and Dellinger was a runner for life.
Running gave her a feeling of empowerment, knowing she was making a conscious decision to live healthier. “After my first Boomsday, I felt so empowered, it was like, I am woman, hear me roar! It was better than any home run I ever hit.”
“After so many team sports, I decided I wanted to do something for myself,” she says. Now she runs five days a week, traveling to complete a marathon every three to four weeks. Over the last twenty years, she’s crossed the finish line an astounding 212 times, one of only four women in the nation who competes so actively. “It’s a nice, healthy way of life,” she says. Here’s a peek at the gear that keeps her on her feet.
Shoes: Saucony’s Grid Hurricane model. Somewhere around Dellinger’s 100th marathon, Saucony’s reps realized they’d seen her around a time or two at the pre-race conventions, and they offered her a sponsorship.
She may not be the fastest marathoner, but the people she talks to at conventions can relate to her: “I’m an every day person, I work and support myself in addition to running,” she says.
Dellinger represents the brand in her frequent races and a few times per year at conventions in exchange for all the free Hurricanes and running attire she can use. She usually gets a new pair of her favorite model after each marathon: “I find that wearing the same model of shoe eliminates the need to break in the new pairs,” she says.
Socks: Wigwam’s Ultimax socks. Dellinger loves Wigwam’s socks so much, she begged the company to send her socks she could wear all year round in the steel-toed boots she wears to work.
For Dellinger, socks are the key to happy feet. “I can’t remember the last time I had a blister on my feet, except at a wedding this summer.”
Clothes: All provided by her sponsor, Saucony, which provides her with race and training gear, often made by Hind, a subsidy of Saucony.
“They have a whole line of loose-fitting running tights that I love. They’re my number one favorite article of clothes.”
Dellinger races in the Saucony compression shorts. “I can’t remember the last time I ran in cotton anything,” she says.
Accessories: “As long as you’ve got your shoes and socks, some shorts and a bra that won’t rub you raw, then you’ve got to make sure you’ve got your hydration in line for the race,” she says. Dellinger uses a pack provided by GU, another sponsor, that allows her to carry up to ten packets of GU in two flasks that fit in its holsters.
Over her marathon career, Dellinger has accumulated three pieces of jewelry that now she won’t travel or race without: earrings, a ring and a necklace that each say 26.2. “I’ve been halfway through the airport, realized I forgot my ring, and had to go home and get it.”
She also wears a Timex Ironman watch, but no other gadgets. She doesn’t listen to music while running, she says, “for safety reasons, and I like to say hi to everyone I see while I’m out running during lunch.”
For Dellinger, those 26.2 miles are practically a walk in the park, but, she says, “I still get nervous and excited before each race, and as long as I still get that feeling, I’m going to keep on going.”