Warwick Township’s Lorraine Jasper still mastering area’s best

Lorraine Jasper (shown in 2017) captured three individual gold medals at last month’s USATF Mid-Atlantic Masters Championships.
      A few years back we wrote about Lorraine Jasper and her courageous battle to overcome cancer.
      The national-class runner not only defeated the disease with a one-two punch of diet and exercise, she continued her career in spectacular fashion.
      So it’s quite heartening to learn Lorraine hasn’t lost a step these days, as evidenced by her three individual gold medals at last month’s USATF’s Mid-Atlantic Masters and Open Outdoor Championships at Millersville University.
      Jasper, 59, won her age group in the 400, 800 and 1,500 meters.
      She took first uncontested in the 400 with a time of 1:12.37. Then came the hard part, reaching the finishing line first – barely – ahead of Greater Philadelphia Track Club teammate Doreen McCoubrie in the 800 and 1,500.
      Here’s how close the margins of victory were: 2:52.41 to 2:53.61 in the 800 and 5:46.47 to 5:47.00 in the 1,500.
      Toss in a couple relay victories and the GPTC easily outdistanced the Philadelphia Masters Club in team competition by a score of 212-108.
      And don’t forget, Jasper’s at the back end of her age group. Next year, the best 60-year-old runners in the United States better be looking over their shoulders.
      Back in 1996, when Jasper received her original cancer diagnosis, doctors told her she might have only two years to live.
      Jasper, the mother of four children, had plenty to live for. She beat the odds and is still very much a vibrant athlete to this day.
      In January of 2018, USATF named her winner of the prestigious Masters Grand Prix Award for 2017, with her photograph and accomplishments published in National Masters News magazine.
      Around that time, we wrote that Jasper’s story was an inspirational one – a tale of overcoming adversity and perhaps proving that both the mental and physical sides of running can help achieve great things. . .even survival and an extension of life.
      “Because I did not do it the conventional way (in 1996), I used my running as my medicine,’’ she said back then. “As the years went by and I was still living after they told me I was going to be dead in two years. . .I just looked at going to national races, just get me to the next national race. My medicine was my running.’’
      Her determination not only to survive, but excel, never wavered.
     “My success of surviving and then it was running to the point where ‘if I’m going to run, I’m just going to do the best I can do,” she said. “So if I’m not going to take death (as an option), then I’m not going to accept being less than I can possibly be.’’
      Jasper set a new U.S. indoor standard in the 400 meters of 66.79 seconds in 2017.
       Her times have greatly improved in recent years. Some of it is the quality of her workouts, some of it is just using the wisdom of her years.
      “Since my 50s I’ve just gotten smarter,’’ she said. “I am primarily an 800-meter specialist. I train most of the year for that. I’ve done the roads and I’m fairly good at that but I don’t train specifically for roads. It’s more body awareness. I used to be too much in my head instead of listening to my body.’’
      It’s great to see her running as strong as ever.
      >Revolutionary Run plans a move to October
      The famous Revolutionary Run 5K/10K, which normally goes on July 4th but was postponed twice over the past two years due to the pandemic, has announced it plans to run this year’s version sometime in October.
      An exact date has not yet been finalized but a notice on the Upper Makefield Businessmen’s Association website indicated details about the reschedule date will be forthcoming shortly.
      That’s good news for local racers who look forward to this 40-year-old masterpiece. Most of the course is located in and around scenic Washington Historic Park and usually draws more than 1,000 runners.
      Stay tuned for more details as they become available.
      >Tokyo Olympics might lack energy
      The decision to hold the Tokyo Olympics without fans (due to the pandemic) will certainly make this competition feel like no other in the 125-year history of the event.
      But please, don’t pump in fake sound on the television broadcasts like they did for some professional sports here in the U.S. It just cheapens the whole experience. I would rather watch the competition with no sound than listen to some goofy background noise. It’s like watching one of those old sitcoms with canned laughter.
      If it turns into a made-for-TV event, so be it. Take it for what it is. It’s bad enough they’re trying to uphold the Olympic tradition in the middle of a COVID lockdown. Hopefully, everyone comes away from the two weeks in good health. We’ll see if the risk was worth the trouble.
      >Race calendar
      The 12K of Christmas (7.45 miles), 8:15 a.m, Tyler State Park, Richboro. Contact www.runsignup.com
About Wayne Fish 1464 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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