More MS news articles for June 1999

Runner, 46, with multiple sclerosis has time of her life

By Clay Latimer and John Meyer
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writers

For Sharon Jodoin, the 21st Bolder Boulder began at 4:30 on Monday morning, and ended six hours and 29 minutes later.

By ordinary standards, that isn't an impressive performance. But the 46- year-old Greeley resident is not an ordinary woman.

Jodoin learned she had multiple sclerosis more than 20 years ago, which sentenced her to a sedentary life. Or so her doctor said. But she managed to cover a lot of ground Monday, with the help of Leo, her husband, and a friend.

"I wanted do the whole thing, but I didn't know if I could hold up," she said. "I can't believe it. I'm a snail and I know it." Nevertheless, no barrier was too difficult for Jodoin, including the Folsom Street hill.

"That's not a hill; it's a mountain."

Jodoin learned she had MS three months after she and Leo were married in 1976.

"I'm just awestruck," Leo said. "It's amazing to see her get out and do this. It takes a tremendous amount of willpower. It makes you proud." Added Sharon: "When I was a little kid, I thought people my age were in the grave. And now I'm this age and feeling fantastic."

Citizen's races -- Darren Wilson, a 30-year-old Australian, covered the course in 30:42 to win the men's division in the citizen's race. Colorado Springs' Sam Ngatia was second at 31:22.

"At the three-mile mark it was difficult, but then the course was quite fast," Wilson said. "I'm quite pleased with the time with the altitude. I was running by myself but was comfortable doing that."

Russia's Albina Gallyamova was supposed to run in the women's elite race, but her teammates didn't show, so Gallyamova ran in the women's citizen's race instead, finishing first in 34:56.

"I looked for them but then I discovered that they didn't come," she Gallyamova, a 35-year-old from St. Petersburg. "Why, I don't know. ..." Junko Akagi of Japan and Boulder finished second (35); Japan's Al Sugihara third.

Fast on wheels -- Mexico's Saul Mendoza shattered his own Bolder Boulder course record in the men's wheelchair division in 20:19, breaking his mark by 24 seconds. His margin of victory, 2:11 over Keith Davis, was the largest in the 10-year history of the wheelchair
competition. He won $2,500.

"After the third mile, I felt great. I knew I could break the record, but. ..."

Cheri Becerra of Nebraska City, Neb., won the women's division in 26:21, defeating Illinois' Jean Driscoll by one second, the smallest victory margin in wheelchair competition. Becerra won $1,500; Driscoll $750.