Carson City runner goes the distance in marathon |

Carson City runner goes the distance in marathon

Dave Price

Running a marathon is a considerable achievement in itself. Running the 26-mile, 385-yard distance while pushing a stroller as Sue Moulden of Carson City did on Sunday at the 22nd California International Marathon is a doubly impressive achievement.

Moulden, 45, pushed Virginia City student Joanna Dupre, 15, in a modified jogging stroller from the marathon’s start near the Folsom Dam to the state capitol in downtown Sacramento in a time of 6 hours, 5 minutes and 24 seconds.

Dupre is a victim of fibrous dysplasia, a chronic and uncommon disorder of the skeleton – and an uncommon candidate to run a marathon. She made it Sunday with the aid of a three-wheeler and a helping hand from Moulden.

They finished nearly four hours behind the winner – Russian Oleg Bolhovets was first across the finish in 2:13:20 – nor were they the last to finish. For the record, they were 2,922nd overall (Moulden was 137th in her women’s 45-49 age group), with an average pace of 13:56 minutes per mile. None of that really mattered when they crossed the finish and had those marathon medals draped around both their necks.

“Our goal was not to win it,” Moulden said. “For Joanna, I think all of it was a full experience. She had a chance to see all those people, there were something like 4,000 of them, who wanted to run a marathon. There were such characters out along the course – cheerleaders and high school mascots, bands, disc jockeys – and between Joanna’s family and mine, we had a lot of great support.”

The support was helpful on a cold December morning in which the temperature was in the mid 30s at 7 a.m. when the gun went off.

“It was pretty cold. I wish I would have been able to do more to keep her warm, but Joanna’s a real trooper,” Moulden said.

Moulden, in her third year as principal of Hugh Gallagher Elementary School in Virginia City, and Dupre, the daughter of a teacher’s aide at the school, actually finished the race ahead of schedule.

“Personally, I was aiming for 8 hours,” Moulden said. “And when we went in to check in the day before at expo to pick up chip timer, they let us know the finish line would be closed down after seven hours. We said we want to make sure we make it to the finish line, and we did.”

Call it a team effort.

“She was kind of my built-in pit crew,” Moulden said. “She opened my Gu (Energy) packages, and I needed a Cliff Bar for my food, and she kept track of our time to make sure we were staying on track (to finish in under seven hours).”

The race was certainly a memorable experience for Moulden.

“The course was absolutely beautiful,” she said. “It took us through all the fall folage, leaves on the ground, and the historical homes. The one thing that caught me by surprise was the hills. It’s supposed to be a very fast course, and the first three-quarters of a mile is straight downhill, but there sure was a lot of uphill after that.”

Making the experience even more amazing, it wasn’t so long ago Moulden took up running as a way to spend quality time with her son, Shelby, who ran four years of cross country at Carson High School.

“I wanted to do something for a bonding experience, the only problem, he was just too fast for me to keep up, So I had to do more training to keep up with to keep up,” she said with a chuckle.

Moulden set her goal to run a marathon last year, but those plans were put on hold in late March when she sustained a severe ankle sprain on a Sagebrush Stompers club run from Virginia City to Carson City. She recovered in plenty of time to run the Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon on Oct. 10 in Susanville, Calif., where she finished in 5:50:24.

On Sunday, fellow runners and fans took note of Moulden and Dupre because they were the only ones entered with a stroller.

“There were tons of people along the whole course cheering us along,” Moulden said. “I can’t believe how many people said, ‘Can I have a ride next?’ And there were a lot of people who said they were more than willing to help me push Joanna for a while, but I had to tell them, ‘No, thank you,’ because this was something I promised we were going to do together.”

That they did.

Note: Other local area finishers at the California International Marathon included Rodney Lampson, 46, of Minden in 3:44:34; Julie Wrobel, 37, of Incline Village in 3:57:12; David Brady, 49, of Minden in 4:02:46; Don James, 70, of Incline Village in 4:05:42 (first-place in his age group); Sara Holm, 32, of Incline Village in 4:20:40; Kiley Peterson, 42, of Minden in 4:39:00; Robert Pfister, 37, of Gardnerville in 5:23:51; Barbara Dewes, 42, of Incline Village in 5:25:52; Oscar Keller, 65, of Zephyr Cove in 5:38:16; Teri Howley, 48, of Carson City in 5:54:38; and Gary Edwards, 47, of South Lake Tahoe in 5:55:47.

Contact Dave Price at or call 881-1220.