Back On Track
Mary Wineberg nearly hung up her spikes. After threatening to break through the 50-second barrier in the 400-meter dash leading up to the Beijing Olympics, where she'd earn gold on the U.S. 4x400m relay, the years since have not seen her return to that level.
In 2009 she and her husband Chris welcomed their first child, Brooklyn, to the family. While there was plenty of time to return to form for London, life intervened. Her mother, Athens Danner, was diagnosed with a malfunctioning kidney and the outlook was grim.
After a long hospital stay, she was able to return home, this time across the street from Mary, Chris and Brooklyn, where they'd help her navigate a life on dialysis.
Of course, Mary's preparations suffered as she failed to make the 400m final at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. A few weeks later her mother passed away.
At 32 she was at a career crossroads. Was it time to pull off the spikes and move on?
It wasn't that simple. She thought about what her mother would have wanted. She'd have wanted her to give it another try.
So Mary went back to the track. Her revamped website now counts the days until the IAAF World Championships begin in Moscow.
And she showed Saturday at the New Balance Games that isn't just lip service. She ran from the front the entire way in the elite 400m dash, an event which including another gold medalist Keshia Baker, finishing in 52.12.
Initially it appeared that she'd run a world-leading time, but U.S. rival Natasha Hastings had run .01 faster in Scotland earlier in the day.
That didn't dampen Mary's feelings about her effort. She knew she was back to form.