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For Jewish Marathoner, Praying Fast and Steady Wins the Race

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:


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