Dysart to cross finish line for 15th marathon

DysartIn a few short days, Son Cha Dysart will cross the finish line on her 15th marathon at the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds.  Even though she has been running since 1974, Dysart didn’t start running races until 2005 when she completed the Hospital Hill Run.

While growing up in Korea, Dysart never heard the term Marathon or how many miles were involved.  Even when she moved to the United States, she still was not familiar with the term.

“I thought racing was specific to the Olympics until I found out otherwise while visiting a running store,” said Dysart.  “In the running store there were racing pamphlets regarding marathons.  This was when I realized anyone can run in races.”

In 1974, to deal with a tough life issue, Dysart started running.  She soon realized running helped her release negative energy and she felt good while running.

“It (running) became my therapy and soon my lifestyle as I enjoyed the physical and mental attributes it helps with,” said Dysart.

DysartAccording to Dysart, running provides a surge of energy that causes her to desire more.  It makes her feel like she can conquer anything she puts her mind to.  To her, it’s not an activity or something she does, it’s a part of her and who she is.

This year, Dysart joined Team World Vision through Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, MO.  This is not her first experience with World Vision.  In 1962 she worked for World Vision at an orphanage in South Korea for five years.  Dysart, who usually runs races alone, is excited to participate with other church members on their World Vision team as they raise funds for orphanages.

When training, Dysart usually runs alone but sometimes she will join her running group at the beginning of training.  For a full marathon she will start training four months in advance.

“I begin logging twenty miles a week and increase it by eight to nine miles a week each month ending my last month at 40 miles a week,” said Dysart.  “The last two weeks I decrease each week by ten miles.”

While training, she follows a schedule that includes athletic power yoga twice a week, strength training twice a week and stretch almost daily.  She also limits other cardio activities such as boot camp classes to ensure not to over train her muscles.

Dysart says she has been fortunate not to have anything major happen during a race.  One race Dysart was very hungry when she hit mile 20 and was able to convince aid station volunteers to give her one of their donuts.  Another race it was extremely hot outside and she pushed through to the finish line even though she felt faint.

Son_Cha_Dysart_ColfaxDysart has experienced an injury but not from running.  While skiing, she broke her leg and needed surgery.  Dysart says she was in a cast for four months followed by three months of physical therapy.  During this time she became depressed and being immobilized had a horrible effect on her.

“I was advised from my physician I would not be able to run or ski again due to the impairment it had on my knee,” she said.  “I made the decision that I would not accept what was being told to me and started to run again.”

Dysart said one other mistake she made was at the Virginia Beach Marathon where advanced research would have helped her know what restaurants would be open in the off season the night before the race and the morning of the race.

Of the 15 marathons and eight half marathons Dysart has finished since 2005, her top two races are the Boston Marathon and the Denver Colfax Marathon.  Boston because “it is every runners dream and you qualify for it” and Denver because she has lived in Colorado so she “couldn’t help but smile the whole time I was running.”

Dysart says she selects races that she has read about in running magazines and if the location peaks her interest then she will target that race.  Her top five races to complete are New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Golden Gate Bridge Marathon, Athens Greece Marathon and Walt Disney World Marathon.

Advice she would like to give new runners is to begin slow and remember these four things: proper nutrition, stretching, listen to your body and incorporate strength training.


By Marla Hanover, Communications and Social Media Manager