Today’s Beijing blue sky and sunshine must have prompted Deena Kastor to sigh with relief. On Sunday (Beijing time, Saturday night in the U.S.), Kastor, a Jew from Northern California who is considered America’s best female marathoner, will compete in the women’s marathon, and having won the bronze at Athens in 2004 — the first medal for an American marathoner in 20 years — she’ll want to breathe easy when she arrives at the starting line. At 35, Kastor holds the American record with her time of 2:19:36, run during her win in the 2006 London Flora marathon over 26.2 miles. In 2006, Track & Field News magazine selected Kastor as the world’s top women’s marathoner.
Kastor has made it clear that she is running for the top spot this weekend, saying, “I want a gold medal… There is nothing more I want than to see the flag being raised and the national anthem being played. I can’t think of a better gift to my country that has been so supportive of me.”
Watch Kastor talk about her path to the Olympics -her third- at the press conference following her win at the Olympic team trials in April: