Aging gracefully with Veronica LeShore

“Aging gracefully, a privilege denied to many!!”. Fortunately, Veronica LeShore is aging gracefully and running is helping her to do just that. This Queen has been tearing up the track with her team CPTC (Central Park Track Club) and a member of the USTAF Masters. Her specialty are 400/200s but don’t let her fool you on the track, she takes care of business on the pavement as well as she is a marathoner, NYCM 21 alumni. Her focus and determination when it comes to running is a sight to be seen and Veronica gives us a peak into her work, her effort and lastly her determination.

MSM: So, I have to ask the first question, USTAF Masters on the track, amazing obviously. Most of us that run every day, myself included, have a small tendency to skip the track workouts or not be as consistent (I feel like I'm putting myself and many other runners on blast) and I know what your reply is going to be but you’re going to set us all straight. Explain to us the importance of the track, you seem to embrace it. For us distance runners that tend to ignore it, how does the track improve our strength, stamina, and mentality?

Veronica: Track workouts are important because they make you faster on the road. It makes you faster because you are using fast twitch muscles that improves your pace and strengthen your legs. It helps with stamina because of the intensity of the workouts thereby improving your aerobic capacity.  Running overall makes you feel good mentally.   There are great marathoners that ran track before they ever ran a marathon. i.e. Eliud Kipchoge, Galen Rupp and Sika Henry.

MSM: Let's go back to the beginning where it all started. How did you find your love for running and where did it start, did it always start with the oval office on the track? Secondly why running. It's a sport that can be forgiving and unforgiving at the same time. Lastly, the work that you put in really dictates your success. 

Veronica: My younger sister brought home a trophy one day and I wanted one too. I joined the track team at 13 with her and my other sisters and the rest is history. We saw Track and field as our way to get college scholarships. I participated in track and field up until I was 27.  I got married and had 2 children and family responsibilities caused me to put running on the back burner. I returned to running because of a NYRR Open Run in 2017 and from there began to run road races. The marathon was always on my bucket list so I started training for the NYCM in 2019. Training for a marathon was unforgiving for me. It took a lot of time (long runs, tempo runs, weight training) and effort (figuring out how and when to hydrate). Even though I won lots of age group awards in the 5k I was not enjoying distance running and realized I needed to return to my first love of Track and Field.

MSM: CPTC, if you’re a runner and from New York you know what this stands for but if you aren't I’ll drop it here, Central Park Track Club. The NY running crews and community are unlike any other and CPTC pushes you to be the best version of yourself as a runner. How has this crew helped you progress along the way and what have been some of the things that you’ve learned working with CPTC?

Photo by  jzsnapz

Veronica: I wanted to join a team that had a track and road team.  With research I found CPTC. This team pushes me to be best version of myself because they have some badass women of color on the team. Rolanda Bell (Steeplechaser and Marathoner) and Lisa Daly (USATF Hall of Famer). Finding a team that had women that looked like me was also important and for these amazing women to have some major accomplishments behind their names excited me and I wanted to do my best to be a part of that legacy. As a member of the team, I have access to the best coaching in all distances.  CPTC-Track smith is one of few clubs in NYC that has 2 female coaches. Devon Martin (middle distance coach) who just won the USATF Coaching Lifetime Award for 2022 and Roberta Groner (long distance roads coach) who just smashed the American Masters Record for the half marathon and qualified for the US Olympic Trials. Our sprint coach is led by Olympic gold medalist Derrick Adkins. Who wouldn’t be excited to be coached by a former Olympian?  This crew always support each other on and off the track.  We cheer for each other at practices and races.  This team has helped me to achieve a World Masters ranking of #5 in the W55 400m and #2 in the USA for the 2023 Indoor season and All-American status. 

MSM: You clearly have a love for Track and Field, but do you see yourself running another marathon in the future. Running a marathon and track are both not for the faint of heart but I would love to see how you feel about both. The Marathon is a 26.2-mile torture while the track is 2 - 3 minutes of intense torture, both are rewarding though. 

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