Arien O'Connel

Arien O'Connel was crowned, "Winner and Heroine of Non-Elite Runners Everywhere," by Reebok after she ran the fastest time in the San Francisco Nike marathon in October of 2008, but was disqualified because she didn't begin with the Elite runners.

Arien O Connel

Arien is a New York City school teacher who had no expectations of winning but remarkably came to San Francisco and beat her fastest marathon time by 12 minutes. She finished 11 minutes faster than the official, Elite winner.

After being hounded by the press and many pissed off runners such as myself, Nike only caved slightly and announced her one of the winners.

However, Arien has paved the way for the rest of us, because next year going forward, there will be no more Elite start at the Nike San Franicsco marathon. So thanks to Arien, anyone has a chance of winning next year.

And if you look at my list of 20 best marathons to run, Nike's San Francisco marathon comes in second on my list.

So thanks to Arien O'Connel, winner and heroine of non-elite runners everywhere, you and I have the hope of winning the San Francisco Nike marathon. Thanks Arien! And may God bless you as well as marathoners and school teachers everywhere!

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