After competing in three U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and finishing as the top American at the heat-soaked 2012 Boston Marathon, Sheri Piers will be ending her long-distance racing career at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6.
Piers, 45, may be past her personal-best days of clocking 2:37:04 over 26.2 miles, but she’s still keeping pace in the professional athlete field while raising three kids and working as a college medical director.
Piers has specifically chosen to end her marathon career in New York City, joining a stacked U.S. professional women’s athlete field that includes Olympians Molly Huddle, Kim Conley, and Gwen Jorgensen making their marathon debuts, as well as her close friends Sara Hall and Diane Nukuri.
“I’m so excited to be a part of this loaded field,” Piers said. “I’m wrapping up my career, and this is the race I wanted to go out with. I thought Boston would be my last race, but I couldn’t give it up just yet. I’d run New York before, but I really wanted to run it again. I don’t get too excited about too many things, but when New York Road Runners said I could run, I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a race.”
At the culmination of her professional career, Piers still attempts to run 15-17 miles daily, even with a schedule that looks as crowded as Times Square.
Her mornings in Falmouth, Maine, start at 5 a.m. with a 10-mile run before returning home to send her kids off to school. She then dips back outside for another few miles prior to leaving for work.
That’s more than a half-marathon before breakfast.
And, she often puts in a second run at lunchtime; students at St. Joseph’s College have been known to form a line outside her office while she’s gone, waiting for her to return.
After work, Piers goes home to make her family dinner, attend her kids’ activities, and sleep before waking up to do it all over again–all with the perpetual energy of a persistent pit bull.
“I feel like I pretty much do it all,” Piers said. “I try to get to bed at a decent time, but it never ends up that way. My body is just so used to it. I’ve been doing this now for over 10 years – the same routine.”
She is, however, always cognizant of her kids’ schedules.
“I try not to have the running impact the family so much, so that’s the reason for the early mornings,” she said. “I really don’t want my kids thinking that’s all I do, even though that’s probably what they’ll tell you.”
Piers’ oldest, Connor, is a high school junior and three-season athlete in cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track. Her middle child, Noah, is a freshman, and a standout soccer player. Her youngest, Carly, is a basketball player and runner who’s just as competitive as her mother.
“She does everything Mom does, it’s funny,” Piers said. “She’s a natural runner, and she loves it.”
Piers is the first to admit she doesn’t get as much sleep as she should, but insists it’s worth it.
“Here’s the deal: If you want to do it, you can find a way to do it,” Piers said. “You can juggle it all if you have the desire and drive to do it. It may mean getting up at an undesirable time. It may mean getting up and going in the cold when you don’t want to. But, I really feel like if people really want to do it, then they can.”
By Stuart Lieberman
GET YOUR STORIES ON. Read more inspiring stories from runners chronicling their journeys to the TCS New York City Marathon starting line.
TUNE IN. The 2016 TCS New York City Marathon will be televised live on Sunday, November 6, on WABC-TV, Channel 7 in the New York tri-state area from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, and for the rest of the nation on ESPN2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET.