Park Slope woman is a marathon legend — completes 25th race

Park Slope woman is a marathon legend — completes 25th race
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Every marathoner has a story — but Kate Ahlers’s is just better.

On Sunday, the 42-year-old Park Sloper, a press secretary for the city Law Department, completed her 25th consecutive race.

And she did it in 6:04 — just 16 minutes shy of her time in her first marathon, which she entered as a teen without her parents’ knowledge.

Ahlers is something of a marathon legend, reuniting with runners from past years whose faces are as familiar to her as hers is to them, laughs the bubbly blonde with age-defying looks who modestly calls herself “a Clydesdale” among faster runners.

“We hug and high-five each other before the race,” said the athlete, adding that her heart always leaps with excitement as she approaches her beloved Brooklyn from the Verrazano Bridge.

“You hear this big cheer and you’re embraced by the whole vitality and vibrancy of the borough, and you become one with it,” Ahlers mused.

As usual, along the way there was plenty of love from throngs of excited people lining the streets, she said, including a large contingent of family and friends who formed welcome committees of their own throughout the 12-mile borough stretch to cheer her on till the end.

“You feel like you’re going through this tunnel of support and you hear this wall of sound, everyone is so enthusiastic,” she said.

For Ahlers — who has won so many medals for her numerous running feats that she’s even given some of them away — the feeling of crossing the finish line is always new and second to none.

“Everyone treats you like a winner, it’s an indescribable feeling,” she gushed.
For this marathon woman, the race is a reminder, too, of life’s endless possibilities.

“It’s important to realize that you can hang onto your little dreams,” she said.

That’s something Kate Ahlers has proved time and again — for the past 25 years.