For This Marathoner, Success Has Been A Surprise

by | Dec 1, 2003 | News Articles

December, 2003 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi


For This Marathoner, Success Has Been A Surprise

Until now, Hallie Janssen never considered herself a distance runner.

In the early ’90s, she was a sprinter for Cañon City High School. Later, while attending Gonzaga University in the northwest and then the University of Colorado in Boulder, she didn’t even run competitively.

But something began to click after Hallie settled in Portland about six years ago with her husband, Joel, whom she met in college in Spokane, WA. Hallie’s career as a marketing consultant for pharmaceutical and high-tech companies allows her ample time to train, and she caught the distance bug while running with friends.

She began entering local 5K and 10K races and eventually worked up to running the Portland Marathon in 1999. While her 3:45 time was very respectable, it wasn’t that extraordinary.

What has followed, however, has been very extraordinary.

In August, she was on the team that won the 196-mile Hood to Coast Relay. But that was just an appetizer. Last month, the 27-year-old Janssen ran a 2:53:53 at the New York City Marathon, and she was the eighth fastest U.S. woman and 29th woman overall.

Since then, she has landed a Nike sponsorship and has set her sights on a bigger test – trying to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in April in St. Louis.

So how did all this happen?

“It’s caught me by surprise,” Janssen admitted during a recent phone conversation. “I’ve never run competitively like this.”

After almost giving up marathoning two years ago following her Boston Marathon, Hallie’s metamorphosis began when she resumed training with friends and hooked up with a coach. Her training – which now includes weights and pilates workouts – got smarter and her shorter race times improved.

Her New York City time has definitely boosted her confidence at the marathon distance, leading her to say that she now feels she has “found her niche” as a runner.

Since the New York race, she is taking some time to recover before starting to rebuild her mileage base. She’ll be up to about 60 miles a week soon and expects that to crest at about 90 per week with a 24-mile long run.

“The one thing I’ve learned is that mileage matters,” she noted. “You have to beat your body up in training and feel that tiredness so that in a marathon you’ll be able to keep going when that happens.”

It will happen again for her on Feb. 15 at the Austin Motorola Marathon in Texas where she will attempt to qualify for the Olympic Trials. The speedwork that she was doing to run in the 2:50s in New York will be stepped up as she shoots for 2:47 in Austin.

The “A” standard qualifying time is sub-2:40 and the “B” standard qualifier is getting under 2:48. Hallie is looking forward to the challenge.

“I don’t have any injuries and I feel confident because I beat the heat and the hills in New York,” she said.

The Austin Motorola is considered a fast marathon, and it’s where former Puebloan Maddy Tormoen ran a 2:45 last February to also qualify for the Women’s Trials.

Next, it will be Hallie’s turn to be the comet.

Marathon Man update

Last month you may have read The Pueblo Chieftain story on Jerry Dunn, dubbed “America’s Marathon Man.” Dunn was running a marathon for 20 consecutive days in Colorado last month to promote the Accelerade Colorado fitness campaign sponsored by 7-Eleven.

Dunn passed through Pueblo on Nov. 15 and, much to his surprise, was greeted by a handful of Pueblo runners who accompanied him on part of his journey here. The Pueblo contingent included Gina Benfatti, Jan Dudley, John Jessem, Marijane Martinez, Diana Reno, Tiffany Reno and Mary Rudolf.

While running on Lake Avenue across from Central High School, Dunn noticed a Pueblo brick on the sidewalk near the tennis courts construction. He casually mentioned that it would be a great souvenir of his trip here. Without Dunn realizing it, Marijane looped back, picked up the brick and caught up with the group at the next 7-Eleven. Then all of the runners borrowed a permanent marker, signed the brick and presented it to Dunn, who was very appreciative.

Dunn writes about the experience on his web site (see below).


The Rock Canyon Half-Marathon will have its 17th annual run this Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. at City Park in Pueblo. Each year this well-run race attracts runners from throughout the state as they look to get in one last long race before the year’s end.

To avoid any chance that the construction on the south side of the river trail wouldn’t be completed by race date, the race course was changed this year. It will drop down to the river trail from City Park by the softball field, then cross the bridge and head west on the north side of the trail to the base of the Pueblo Dam before returning.

Pre-race registrations can be dropped off at the Gold Dust Saloon on Union Avenue through Saturday. Race-day registration will be held from 8 to 8:45 a.m. in the City Park Pavilion. There also is online registration at More information is available at the Southern Colorado Runners’ website.

The Rock Canyon will be switched to a Saturday date next year.

  • Rich Hadley of Florence won his age division in the four-race Fall Series that was held in the Colorado Springs area. Hadley, 47, also was 12th overall. Brian Ropp, 40, of Pueblo West was fourth in his age division.
  • Earlier this fall, former Pueblo South High School standout Amber DeHerrera was second in the 25-29 age division and ninth overall among all females in the Imogene Pass Run. Amber clocked a 3:05:57 time over the 17.1-mile course from Ouray to Telluride. Amber has a degree in exercise science from Fort Lewis College and lives and works in that area.
    Others from this area did well there. Mark Koch of Pueblo ran a 2:47, John Hair of Puebo West a 3:14, Paul Vorndam of Rye a 3:15, Martin Appenzeller of Pueblo West a 3:17 and Mark Rickman of Pueblo a 3:20.
  • There must be something special in the water in Cañon City that produces tireless, long-distance runners. Marv Bradley 64, chalked up his 12th marathon of the year on Nov. 23 when he finished the Philadelphia Marathon in 4:06. Earlier in the month, he finished the Stinson Beach (CA) Marathon in 4:52. Meanwhile, Sam McClure, 50, also from Cañon City, finished the Mystic Places Marathon in East Lyme, CT in 4:29 in late October. Sam’s now completed five marathons in 2003.

Upcoming Area Races

  • Dec 7 – Rock Canyon Half-Marathon, 13.1M, 9 a.m., City Park (564-9303).
  • Dec 14 – The Excellent Adventure (Prediction Series race), 8+M, 9 a.m., 117 Regency (564-6043).
  • Jan 31 – Frostbite Five, 5M, 10 a.m., City Park (543-5151).

On the Net

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