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Runners chase different goals at Cupid's Chase 5K in Pittsburgh

February 13, 2016 | Trib Total Media online article | article.pdf

Runners chase different goals at Cupid's Chase 5K in Pittsburgh

As runners chased golden dreams Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles, Anna Beck-Lee set her sights on a different feat along the frigid, snowy banks of the Allegheny River.

Beck-Lee, who four years ago ran in the marathon trials in Houston but missed this year’s race because of injury, attempted to break the world record for a woman running a 5K race on crutches.

“I’ve gotten pretty steady on my one leg,” said Beck-Lee, 31, of Washington. “In life, you get a lot of ups and downs, and things could always be worse. I’m just going after a goal.”

Beck-Lee, hopping along a snowy River Walk Trail along the Allegheny River outside PNC Park with one foot in a boot and crutches under booth arms, crossed the finish line of the Cupid’s Chase 5K in 53 minutes and 45 seconds, minutes shy of the world record of 49 minutes and 53 seconds.

“We’ll have to maybe go again, huh,” Beck-Lee joked after finishing. “If it wasn’t for the weather conditions, I probably would have had a close shot.”

In 2012, Beck-Lee finished 101st in the Olympic marathon trials with a time of 2 hours, 47 minutes and 26 seconds. Two years later, she had surgery to repair a navicular fracture; a screw held together her broken foot bones.

When Beck-Lee got the OK from her doctors, she began training for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. However, the bone broke again, sending her in for another surgery and ending her run at Los Angeles.

Area runners Clara Santucci of Morgantown, Laura Harnish of Highland Park and Jed Christiansen of Greenville, Mercer County, competed in the marathon trials in Los Angeles.

Beck-Lee said her world record attempt wasn’t just about the time. Training for the attempt kept her spirits up, and she hoped her race would motivate others.

“What’s most important is we are raising money to help others,” she said.

More than 200 people signed up to run the Cupid’s Chase 5K, which raises money for Community Options, a nonprofit that provides housing and employment support to people with disabilities.