There is something so likable about Deena Kastor. It's just her results as one of the most accomplished American distance runners that's appealing. There's something about her personality, her willingness to be in nearly every running-themed magazine or website, her example of hard work and positive attitude, even going through adversity.
She won bronze in the marathon at the 2004 Olympics and looked like she could swap for another color medal in the 2008 Games, until she broke her foot. She spent 2009 recovering and training and still remained smiling and upbeat and an inspiration for distance runners, particularly for women.
Last weekend, she made another step in her comeback efforts, winning the Arizona Rock n' Roll half marathon. It was her first win in 10 months and came in a time of 1 hour, nine minutes and 43 seconds.
"This race solidifies that my training has been going well," Kastor said in an Associated Press article. "Running sub-1:10 off this training makes me excited about my next phase."
It should have her fans, and fans of American distance running, excited, too. A healthy Kastor not only makes for interesting races, but helps push the bar for the generation ready to take the mantle when the 36-year old leaves competitive racing.
Her next goal is the London marathon in April.