LAKE PLACID - Kelly Gonyo likes to run and likes to be healthy. But the Lake Placid resident said that's about as far as it goes when she enters a race.
Gonyo was the first runner from the Olympic Village to sign up for the annual Lake Placid Marathon held in her hometown. Her approach is all about having fun and feeling good, as opposed to setting any expectations of when she might reach the finish line.
This year's Lake Placid Marathon takes place Sunday, June 11, and Gonyo will participate in the 13.1 half-marathon distance. Gonyo runs the Blue Line Insurance agency in Lake Placid and was once a more avid runner than she is now, but the 39-year-old has been reviving her interest in the sport after recovering from back surgery she underwent less than two year ago. She was prompted to sign up for the event when her friend Greg Borzilleri took over the race late last year.
Kelly Gonyo sits at her desek at Blue Line Insurance Agency in Lake Placid. Gonyo was the first resident of the village to sign up for this year’s Lake Placid Marathon, which will be held on June 11.
News photo — Lou Reuter
"I signed up because Greg Borzilleri took over the race; it's his now, and I wanted to support him," Gonyo said. "He's a friend. I've actually been out of running for quite a few years because I had a back injury and I had back surgery in Oct 2014. I haven't been able to run in a long time, but I can now, and the combination of both inspired me to get into the race."
Gonyo is no stranger to participating in running events. She said she's done a handful of shorter races, including her lone half marathon, which was in 2009 in Saratoga Springs. Her most recent running adventure was a grueling one at high altitude, a "10Kish" uphill race in Vail, Colorado.
"I stopped running for nearly six years," she said. "Really last summer was the first time I started running again."
Gonyo's surgery involved removing a disc and a spinal fusion. She said the operation was followed by a six-month stretch where she was unable to do any physical activity.
A North Country native, Gonyo participated in some sports while attending Northeastern Clinton High School, but running was not on that list. Instead, her introduction to running was more of a social thing with some companions.
"In 2009, I just wanted to do a 5K," Gonyo said. "I did one. A couple of friends and I got together and ran at night. It was leisure. I've never run for competition. We did a 5K, then a 10K and then the half-marathon. After that, I was training for the Burlington Marathon. I was going to do a full marathon, that was the next step, but I couldn't because of my back."
Now that Gonyo is healthy again and happy to be back in running shoes, she still entertains thoughts of completing a full marathon, although that's not an immediate, or even a certain, goal.
"I admire people who can run super fast, but that's just not me," she said. "A full marathon is something I've never completed. It's my nature to want to do something, and if I don't complete it, it kind of sits back there and gnaws at me a bit. I am aware that I haven't done one, so yeah, maybe, but it would be a one-and-only."
Whether or not Gonyo gets that chance in the future to attempt a full marathon, it's not on the radar now, and may never be. It's not what running is all about in her mind.
"I just like to run to be healthy," she said. "A couple miles here, a few miles there. I'm not running to race by any means. It's just for fun. I like to get done at work, take off and run a couple miles. More than anything, I'm just glad I can do it. I haven't been able to run in a long time, but I can now.
"I'm not looking to run the race to get a fast time or any of that stuff. I used to run 10-minute miles. My body is different now since I've had my back surgery. Sometimes I run faster, sometimes I run slower. Obviously, you have to finish within a certain amount of time, so you do pay attention to your pace in that regard. If I can run at a 10-minute pace, I'll be happy with that."
Registration is open for the Lake Placid Marathon for distances of either 26.2 miles or 13.1 miles, and can be done through the race's website: www.lakeplacidmarathon.com.