‘Finishing Equals Winning,’ a Post-Marathon Mantra

Ed and Caroline Cashin’s Truth Training fitness studio crew ran in the New York City Marathon Sunday
The Truth Training group comprised, from left, Beth Feit, Caroline Cashin, Sue De Lara, Sinead FitzGibbon, Holly Li, and Britton Bistrian. The group’s Ursula McNamara is not pictured. John Emptage

A half dozen women in their 40s who train at Ed and Caroline Cashin’s Truth Training fitness studio in East Hampton ran in the New York City Marathon Sunday, and for most of them it was their first attempt at the grueling 26.2-mile distance.

While they’ve been training as a group here for the past 18 weeks, running on the roads and on East Hampton High School’s track, they ran separately through the five boroughs on Sunday — each at a different pace — until they came together again at their hotel. Sinead FitzGibbon and Beth Feit began with the 9:50-pace runners, the rest with the 10:15 wave.

Of the seven, FitzGibbon, who’s run ultramarathon distances, was the quickest, in 3 hours and 21 minutes, Caroline Cashin said during a conversation with Feit and this writer at The Star Monday afternoon. 

Cashin, who finished in 3:51, had been hoping to qualify for Boston, but missed the cutoff by six minutes, a fact that she ascribed to yet another grueling race, the world single-speed 50-mile mountain bike championships in Oregon two weeks before, a race that took her five hours and four seconds to complete — a little more than an hour behind her husband (3:58) and Dan Farnham (3:59), who she still maintains, with a smile, is “the best mountain biker on the East End.”

Besides FitzGibbon, Cashin, and Feit, the Truth Training women included Holly Li, Sue De Lara, Ursula McNamara, and Britton Bistrian, who recently turned 40. It was the first marathon, period, for most of them.

“We were in condition, we had the training down,” said Feit, whose first marathon this was, and yet. . . .

“I have newfound respect for the marathon, it’s not a piece of cake,” said Feit. “I had trained very hard, and yet I struggled. I hit the wall coming off the 59th Street Bridge. My legs were heavy and ached. My mind was saying, ‘Pick it up! Pick it up!’ but I couldn’t. I kind of fell apart after that.”

But she finished, she said, and that was the main thing. “Finishing equals winning in the marathon — that’s our new mantra,” Feit said.

Others from here who were said to have run Sunday included Rita Greene and Cara Nelson, East Hampton Middle School teachers, Chris Hewitt, a former Montauker living now in South Carolina, and Dermot Quinn of Springs, who because of a chest infection had to withdraw, said Cashin, “though he got a deferment, so he’ll be able to do New York next year.”

The list grew as press time loomed to include as well Anne Gibson, a former East Hamptoner living in New York City now, and Fran Kotkov, 68, of Springs and New York City, and her daughter, Gabrielle.

“The weather was perfect,” said Feit, “not too cool, not too hot. Caroline made sleeves out of socks to put on our arms. Because of a connection four of us went by police escort from the Javits Center on an F.D.N.Y. bus to Staten Island. That made the morning stress-free. At the end they gave us nice plastic ponchos with hoods which were very cozy.”

Would she do it again? Feit thought a moment. “Yes, I think I will. Knowing what I know now will help me run a better race.”

“Don’t forget to mention the [5,000-meter row, 15K bike, 5K run, and 2,500-meter row] Brewathlon, which will be in Montauk this Saturday,” said Cashin. “Except for Britton, we’ll all be there. It benefits the Old Montauk Athletic Club. We had to change the original date because of the weather, and they say it will be chilly. I had 30 teams and we’re down to 25 now, but most everyone will be there.”

And with that, Cashin and Feit got up, gingerly, from their chairs.

“I’m feeling good,” Feit said, pausing at the door. “I did it.”