Photo: Sue Pearsall
Talking to Mary Rosado is like getting a tour through CPTC and NYC running history. She was here at the beginning and she is still here, training for and competing in everything from the 100 meters to the marathon. Now that she is entering public life as a candidate for civil court judge in New York, the time is right for a review of all that she has accomplished.
Mary sees herself as belonging to what she calls the ‘second tier’ of those who joined CPTC in the 1970s. She had always been active in sports in high school and college in the city, but when she was applying to law school she had a revelation: Being a law student didn’t mean she would have to sit on her rear end all day. As a student she couldn’t afford to go skiing and she had a pair of old high tops in her closet, so she hit the roads. She entered a few races and ran well, so a law school friend of hers who had been a competitive runner offered to coach her. The two would venture into Riverside Park for workouts.
It was during a run in Central Park that former CPTCer Gilda Serrano saw Mary fly by and asked if she would like to join the team and train with the orange. Soon Mary was one of the only women working out with legends Frank Handelman, Sid Howard and Dave Blackstone. Sometimes they would be in the park, other times they would do laps of the CUNY gym. “We didn’t have George (Wisniewski), we didn’t have coaches, we didn’t have anything,” she said. “I was well behind Frank, Sid and Dave, but let me tell you, it made me fast!” Mary remembered.
Sid speaks fondly of those times. “We had great camaraderie. Everyone pulled for everyone. When I found CPTC it was the love of my life – and Mary felt the same way.” The young club would travel to world masters meets together, and famously, every August to an ad-hoc running camp in New Paltz. Some would stay in tents, others in hotels. On Saturday the team would have a five mile race, employ some active recovery by dancing in town until late, then wake early and go on a group 15 mile run on Sunday.
From the start Mary has raced all distances and events. “Today Tony calls me a balanced runner – back then they called me crazy,” Mary told me. At the Penn Relays, after she played a role in getting masters women some races, she was entered in the 100 meters. She got some help from the then CPTC sprint coach, showed up at the line and won a medal. She ran the steeple many times, making up for the lack of available water jumps by hurdling fences in Central Park. She has medaled at World Masters meets, USATF Masters Nationals (both indoor and outdoor) and finished 13 marathons with a best of 3:19. Many of her marks are still on the CPTC masters top 10 lists. She has also set American records on relay teams with CPTC teammates.
Photo: Sue Pearsall
Mary has been fortunate to be sturdy – “I’ve been running 35 years and I have only been injured three times that I had to take off time for,” Mary said. She says being careful about mileage and rest has been key. She has always run a moderate 40-50 miles per week, and even during marathon training not gone above 60. “I am not a compulsive runner,” Mary says. “I take off, do other things.”
Aside from competition, Mary has been a presence in USATF for many years, serving on the National Law & Legislation Committee, the Masters LDR Executive Committee, Anti-Doping Committee and others. She even served as team manager of national teams several times.
But the most rewarding aspect of running has always been the friendships and shared experiences. “Why do I run? I used to think it was because I am a competitive person. But what I truly miss (when I am not running) is the camaraderie. When I had a big group it was sure easier to get up at 6 AM!”
Away from the track, Mary has served the public as a lawyer for many years, most recently in her own practice focusing on elder law issues. But Mary recently had the major honor of being asked to run for a civil court judgeship in New York City. She must first be elected, and the balloting takes place in the November election.
More than most people, Mary is comfortable with new challenges. The election has taken a toll on her running, however, as she has needed to tend to her electoral efforts instead of her mileage. “I never had a situation where I couldn’t run and work…until this judgeship.” But after the election Mary believes she will have time to get back on the track. “I miss how my body looks different when I am working hard on the track.”
In the meantime, she points out the difficulty of answering the question “How is your running going?” since it isn’t clear which running is the subject of the question.
Mary is clearly excited to start a new chapter professionally and understands the importance of her new position. “It’s a dream come true so I am very excited,” she said. “I’m looking at it the way I look at running. Every time I get on the starting line I get nervous.” But running has given her belief that she will do a good job. “When people ask where do you get your confidence, I tell them running. If I can do it in running…why can’t I do it in business?”