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Bethel Park's Woodring finishes fourth in women's race

| Sunday, May 5, 2013, 7:18 p.m.

Lauren Woodring had trouble standing after completing the Pittsburgh Marathon.

The Bethel Park resident was, in fact, so drained following the 26.2-mile run that race workers took her to the nearby medical tent where she replenished herself with a mixture of Gatorade, orange juice and bananas.

The exhaustion didn't just show how hard Woodring pushed herself in the last 10 miles of the race. It also stood in stark contrast to how easy Woodring makes running marathons seem.

Woodring, 25, took fourth place in the women's division Sunday, running a 2:45:59 on a crisp spring morning. She beat every American-born woman to notch the highest finish of any local or state runner in the full marathon.

Woodring is still in her infancy as a distance runner, having completed just three marathons — two coming in her hometown.

“I definitely think it's a gift God has given me to not only be able to (run) but also enjoy it,” Woodring said. “I do respect that, and I train pretty hard.”

That was evident Sunday as Woodring, a former college soccer player, shaved more than 10 minutes off the time she ran in the 2012 Pittsburgh Marathon, her first one.

Woodring stuck to her plan of running the first half of the race at a comfortable pace before charging the last 10 miles.

She came within 31 seconds of breaking her personal best set last October when she won the Columbus Marathon.

“It's amazing what her times have been,” Pittsburgh Marathon director Patrice Matamoros said. “I think it's good for us, great for her if we develop athletes in Pennsylvania.”

Woodring, who works in finance for PNC, is an unlikely rising star in running if only because of her limited background in the sport.

Woodring spent a season on the Bethel Park High School girls track and field team as a distance runner, but she concentrated on soccer after her freshman year, eventually playing at Grove City College.

She started running as a way to push herself and compete after college. And another significant step in Woodring's career took place Sunday in front of roughly 30 family members, who cheered on Woodring and her brother John, a participant in the half marathon.

What may have helped Woodring as much as the family support was the cool temperatures that prevailed most of Sunday morning.

“I couldn't have asked for better weather conditions,” Woodring said.

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.

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