Monday, February 21, 2011

Desiree Ficker wins Austin Marathon


Each of the roughly 18,000 runners who participated in the Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon wore a racing bib displaying an identification number .

But one runner, the overall women's champion in the marathon, wore an extra bib attached to the back of her shirt that read "Ma Ficker."

Desiree Ficker took the opportunity Sunday to honor her late mother, Annette, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007 and died July 31, 2009. Her mom, she said, was her biggest fan and could always be found on the sidelines at her various athletic events.

"Athletics can be so self-focused, it can be so intrinsic. I think it shouldn't be all about you," said Ficker, a 34-year-old pro triathlete from Austin who finished in 2 hours, 50 minutes and 35 seconds. "As a professional athlete, you have an opportunity to inspire a lot of people, and people need inspiration. I know I was thinking about my mom today.

"There was a period (of the race) where I could have taken it easy, but you have to look for other inspiration outside of yourself."

Ficker's goal Sunday was a time of 2:46:00, which would have met the women's qualifying standard for the 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon trials. She said that much of her recent training had been triathlon-oriented, and she wasn't in her best running shape.