Mary Haskins Has Been Running For 25 Years

(Sep 2020) Her friends believe Mary Haskins is part mountain goat for her love of running the TransRockiesRun (6 days 120 miles) and just about any rugged terrain on earth. Speed is not her goal. Beautiful scenery and distance suit her just fine. Haskins lives in Brooklyn Heights were she can be found at 5:00 a.m. walking her two dogs (who do wag their tails) before she heads out for her run. There is no one who doesn’t appreciate Mary Haskins. And that’s good for her job as Senior Manager, Volunteer Operations at NYRR. With her megawatt smile and personality to match, loyal volunteers come back every year.


Career-profession? I have had a lucky second career with NYRR after 28 years in the Commodity Trading business. At NYRR I’ve been a marathon coach for their charity team, Team for Kids, and now I am Senior Manager of Volunteer Operations. I love to run and I love runners and feel blessed that

I found this sport that gives me a great way to stay active and healthy. I especially love that I can share my time running with so many wonderful people.


How and why did you start running?  I may have run a couple of 5K fun runs and the Leggs Mini-Marathon back in the 80s but it wasn’t until I threw my name into the lottery for the 1996 NYC Marathon that I got serious about running. And low and behold I was shocked and terrified when I found out I got in.


How much did you run per week in your peak years? Now?

Depending on what is on the schedule at work, as I work almost every weekend covering the races, I run about 50 miles a week. What I find most humorous about this question is that at 60, I don’t think I have peaked yet! In fact, as mentioned above, I’m running more miles now then I ever have due to Covid and having more time on the weekends.

Haskins on left, with Gail Kislevitz


What were some of your better/memorable races? I have been so lucky to run a wide range of races and there are so many memorable ones.  I think the 1996 NYC Marathon has to be the most memorable because it was “the first.” I trained alone for 90% of it during a time in my life that was bananas. My mom was dying of cancer, I had a 2-year-old baby and a high-pressure job on Wall Street. The training was a lifeline, something I could count on everyday to help me deal with stress. The marathon took place about 6 weeks after my mother died…so I dedicated it to her. Running the race in my mom’s memory made it one of the most memorable days of my life.


I am also really proud of a couple other challenging events. I have completed the TransRockiesRun, a 6-day stage race that covers 120 miles of Colorado trails (lots of elevation) eight times. I ran it for the first time with my running buddy, Laura Stephen, when the event was teams only.  It’s not a relay… you actually run together and that is part of the challenge. 

The other really fun event I ran with Laura Stephen was the Rock Run on Nantucket. It was designed as a relay for five people covering 50 miles circumnavigating the Island on the beach. We ran it as part of a team of five for a few years, but in 2015 we decided to split the distance (about 25 miles each).  It was incredible…mostly on sand…some hard packed, some very soft and sometimes the shoreline was very steep. There were a few water crossings sometimes up to chest level.  All of it amazing!


So I have one more memorable race that hasn’t happened yet! Laura and I have started to run the Appalachian Trail, starting in New England and working our way down. The goal is to complete the whole trail but it may take us a lifetime.


How did you train differently in your younger years? I ran a lot less when I was younger than I do now. I think that is contrary to most older athletes who cut back on the mileage as they age up.


Has your diet changed through the years? I love to eat and have always struggled with portion control. I do run better when I am a little lighter. When training for a marathon or something longer I try to get my diet under control. Eat more fish, fewer carbs and little or no alcohol. The booze is very hard for me to give up so it is typically all or nothing. I have a 5-year tradition of giving up wine from January 1until the Boston Marathon and hope to keep that going.


Cross Training?  I love to bike and spin.  I am also a big fan of group strength training classes but they are on hold for the moment due to Covid.


Haskins on right

How important is social running to you?
I am lucky to have lots of running friends and truly blessed that a few of my dearest friends love to run as much as I do (Sarah Tobin, Laura Stephen) I love running with friends and am happy to slow down to someone else’s pace. But most of my friends are faster than me (haha) so they’re the ones usually slowing down for me.


Obstacles along the way, injuries, etc? At the risk of jinxing myself…I have been running marathons and ultras for 25 years and have never been knocked out of training or completing an event due to an injury. A massage therapist once told me that I have thick tendons, which protect my joints and skeletal system.


Has running helped you with the aging process?  I am pretty happy being 60 so I think it has helped. I don’t feel like I am aging.


What three tips would you give a younger runner who wants to be a lifetime runner? 

1--Believe in yourself and that you can accomplish the (realistic) goals you set out for yourself. Yes you can! 

2--Once you have completed three workouts in a row you have established a pattern. Next, make it a lifestyle. 

3--Complete what you set out to do (unless you are injured or ill) and get the workout or miles in that are on your training plan even if you have to slow your pace. You will feel accomplished and in control of your training and your life if you see each workout through.


What are the biggest lessons you have learned from running?  I have learned that I can set challenging goals and complete them, as long as I put in the work to make them successful. And that’s true in life as well. I’ve also learned how to deal with failure through my running. I have attempted to complete the Big Horn 50- miler in Wyoming three times. Yup, I have failed this race three time, but I love it. I will be back!