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December 8, 2010

UW Medical Center nurse finishes first in 2010 Seattle Women's Half Marathon

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

UW Medical Center nurse Sheila Croft breaks the tape as the first to finish the 2010 Seattle Women's Half Marathon Nov. 28. /ASI photo

Sheila Croft, a nurse at UW Medical Center, was the first woman to cross the finish line during the 2010 Amica Insurance Seattle Marathon’s Half Marathon run. The races took place on Sunday, Nov. 28.

Croft finished the 13.1 mile course in 1 hour, 23 minutes, and 16 seconds. Her official time was 33 seconds faster than the second place finisher’s. The race route started at 5th and Broad and ended at Memorial Stadium near the Seattle Center.

“I had lots of fun doing it and it was super challenging,” Croft said. “I was thinking that if I were lucky I may win a spot in my age group. I had no idea that I would be able to run 3 minutes faster than my personal best of 1:26, let alone win overall. I was ecstatic with my results and very motivated to keep on going for more.”

This year 3,266 women ran in the half marathon. Together, the 2010 marathon events had 16,785 competitors. Race conditions were cool, but for the most part dry.

This was the 40th year for the Seattle Marathon.

Croft is a nurse in the Interventional Cardiology Recovery Unit at UW Medical Center. The unit, part of the UW Regional Heart Center, cares for patients after diagnostic or treatment procedures in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

UW Medical Center was the medical sponsor for the 2010 Seattle Marathon events. UW Medicine physicians and staff helped organize an emergency response system and helped provide medical aid along the course and finish line.

“My colleagues were very happy for me and I have received many praises for this accomplishment,” Croft said, ” Mikki Daily, one of my nursing colleagues who volunteers with Team Transplant, was at one of the water stations for the half marathon. She called out to me when I ran by and it totally boosted my spirits.”

As a nurse, Croft said she appreciates how important it is to remain healthy and to promote good health practices for her patients and her family members. She was active and involved in sports as a young girl. She knew back then that she wanted to choose a career in the health care field so that she could be involved in teaching healthy lifestyles and in promoting primary health care practices.

Croft, 36, has competed in short and long distance triathlons for 8 years. She has completed six full distance Iron Man Triathlons and several half Iron Man Triathlons.

Croft has done very well as a elite amateur athlete. She has had podium finishes at three Iron Man Triathlons and qualified for the world championships on two occasions. She also has had many top 3 finishes at the half Iron Man distance including two overall wins.

A few years ago she finished second in her age group in the Vancouver B.C. full marathon, and second overall in the Calgary, Alberta, full marathon (both 42 kilometers).

What about her future goals? She hopes that she might be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2011 and the Kona Hawaii Iron Man championships.

“Big dreams, I know,” she noted, “but my body is holding up well and I’m only getting faster as I get older. I think, ‘Why stop now?’”