Not altitude, smoke nor heat could stop Loretta Moesler from claiming some new hardware.
Moesler, a Morristown resident, earned the silver medal in the female 75-79 age division of both the 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer road races at the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 21 and June 23.
On Friday, Moesler, who is set to turn 78 July 8, clocked a time of 30 minutes, 38 seconds in the 5K. That was good for a 9:52 mile pace and second place out of 15 in the division.
Moesler edged by a mere second the third-place finisher, Francoise Barnes of Los Ranchos, New Mexico.
Lola Ackerman of Clarkdale, Arizona, won at 28:17.
Aside from Ackerman, Moesler’s toughest opponent was the conditions.
Smoke from Arizona wildfires blew into Albuquerque, which also sits over a mile above sea level.
“That was the worst of it, the fires from Arizona,” Moesler said. “All day, the rest of the day I coughed and sneezed like I had bronchitis.”
Moesler has completed 17 marathons in her running career that began at age 40. She was the first Faribaultian woman to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 1990. She is a three-time U.S. National Masters Marathon champion.
Needless to say, this race was far from her first rodeo. She perservered through the conditions to post a satisfactory time for her standards.
It was a quick turnaround for Sunday’s race.
“The 10K I was really disappointed in my time,” Moesler said. “I was four minutes slower than two years ago, but my legs were so tired still from the Friday run. I hadn’t healed up. The other girl who took first, she won the 5K also, she beat me by quite a bit. But my time was good enough to get a silver medal.”
Moesler finished in 1:08:10 for a 10:59 mile pace. Ackerman was first out of nine in the division at 57:43. Irene Terronez of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, was third at 1:08.55.
Moesler ran a 1:04.05 in 2017 to place third in the division at the 2017 National Games in Birmingham, Alabama.
She credited husband, Roland, in spurring her on to compete.
“I’ve only done the Senior Games twice. However, I have qualified many times to run it but I’ve never done it,” Loretta Moesler said. “I’ve also qualified to do the triathalon in the Senior Games, but it’s so expensive to go. They’ve jacked up their prices for everything, but my husband insisted that I go the last two years.”
All fifty states and nine countries were represented among the 14,000-plus athletes in New Mexico for the Senior Games, which are open to athletes ages 60 and up.
Both Moeslers are graduates of Northfield High School.
One of Loretta Moesler’s brothers, Bob Aldorfer, was a state champion in the mile at Northfield High School.
Girls high school sports weren’t around when Moesler was a prep, but she joked today she has the upper hand in the sibling rivalry.
“I have a brother who’s going to be 73 in a couple weeks who was a big track star in Northfield,” Moesler said. “He still has the Northfield half-mile record for freshmen. He’s going to be inducted into the Northfield Hall of Fame in September. So I guess running is in our blood, but he doesn’t do it anymore. I can run circles around him.”