Being a full-time employee at D'Youville College, a wife, a youth soccer coach, mother, and the first coach in the history of the D'Youville women's lacrosse program is a lot to take on for Kate Mayhook, but she continues to strive for more. On November 4, 2018 Mayhook took to the streets of New York City to take part in the 48th New York City Marthon where she was not just another runner out there, but one of the best.
Following her days as a standout women's lacrosse player and Hall of Famer at Colgate University, Mayhook has picked up running as her means of feeding her competitive spirit. That competitive spirt allowed Mayhook to be named a three-time Collegiate Northeast Women's Lacrosse All-American and a two-time Patriot League Player of the Year while in college, but has it has also pushed her to be participant and finisher at 11 marathons including: the Buffalo (3x), Chicago, Miami, Niagara Falls (2x), Boston (2x), and New York City (2x) Marathons. This past fall, the veteran runner showed she is only getting better.
Despite it being her eleventh marathon and her second time running the New York City Marathon, this one was different. This race meant more to Mayhook in terms of pushing her limits and establishing a new personal best for herself.
"I had a different goal going into this race than previous races," said Mayhook. "I wanted to beat my personal best of 3:15:42 and if possible break 3:10:00. Because I had specific goals set for myself, I approached training with a different mindset. I knew I had to work harder and change my workouts in order to achieve the time I wanted."
All of that hard work paid of for Mayhook as she finished the 26.2 mile course in a time of 3:09:18. If that was not impressive enough, Mayhook finished 2,010 overall out of 52,704 runners. Even more impressive she was 188 overall out of 22,112 for her gender. Most impressive was her finish for her age group - 21 out of 3,379.
"I was extremely lucky that everything lined up perfectly on race day, my body felt good, I was focused, the weather was ideal, and I had the support of family and friends in NYC and at home," Mayhook recalled.
From an outside perspective it may seem like those three hours, nine minutes, and eighteen seconds are the hardest work that one may put into the entire process, but nothing could be further than the truth. Months of tireless hard work, training, and determination led Mayhook to reach a new point in her running career.
Over a 16-week period, Mayhook and her close friend as well as running coach, Mary Beth Scott of Onward Run Coaching (Instagram: onward_runcoach), structured her program with a variety of workouts and ultimately resulted in Mayhook reaching her goal. Scott and Mayhook focused on speed workouts with longer intervals, training her body to run faster despite being tired, and learning to break the race down into a series of chunks of mileage, not as 26 individual miles or one 26 mile race. According to Mayhook, hiring a running coach was the biggest difference.
"I learned so much from working with Coach Mary Beth and am so grateful for her friendship and knowledge," exclaimed Mayhook.
After reaching her goal of setting a new personal best time and taking on major races such as The Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon twice each, Mayhook is already gearing up to focus on her next big race. With the Happy Half Marathon in Ellicottville, NY in May of this year the next hill to climb, the real challenge will come later this year as she runs a terrain she has not yet experienced before - Germany.
"My next big race is the Berlin Marathon on September 29, 2019," said Mayhook. "After NYC, I decided to put my name in for the Berlin Marathon and am very excited that I was accepted. There are a few big international marathons that I hope to complete and this was at the top of my list.
Beginning her running career following college, Mayhook was reliant upon herself and her internal motivation. Now married with two children (12 and 7-years old), the motivation and reward of running and achieving new heights is something she shares with her whole family.
"Although I am still motivated by my personal goals, knowing that my children and family are able to be a part of my experience has made it even more rewarding," Mayhook said. "Now that my kids are getting older, they understand and see the hard work, time and dedication that goes into my training and how rewarding race day is when things go well. I hope they can take bits and pieces of my experiences and apply it to themselves at some point along the way."
As Mayhook embarks on her fourth season as the head coach of the D'Youville women's lacrosse program, she continues to pass on excellence to her players. After a winless inaugural season in 2017, the Spartans won four games in 2018 with two Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) all-conference players and six Independent Women's Lacrosse Schools (IWLS) all-conference selections. Now a member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) for 2019 and the foreseeable future, the program is in more than capable yet determined hands.
Continuing to push for more, striving to be her best, and working hard for herself and others guides Kate Mayhook as a runner and coach. If her recent success at the New York City Marathon and on the sidelines of Dobson Field in 2018 is any indication, she is only just beginning to hit her stride.