by Deanne BARTHA
Before Bernadette Dorsch Curry turned 50, she vowed that her 50th year would be the
best year of her life . . . and each year thereafter would be even better.
Curry has lived up to that promise.
The single, 54-year-old Clarence mother of 3 children, and grandmother of 3, goes
beyond her impressive resume that lists her latest 1994 accomplishment as Doctor of
She has added her favorite love of running - and in her family room is a table full of
trophies to prove it.
Admittedly competitive, Curry recently finished the Washington D.C. Marine Corps
This 26-mile marathon attracted more than 19,000 runners from all over the country.
Currys goal was to finish in less than 5 hours. She clocked in at 4 hours and 48
minutes, and ran as a member of the Team in Training for the Leukemia Society.
Last May she came in second in her age group at the Ford Marathon in Buffalo. That was
her first attempt at distance running, and she began training for the challenge in
Her 1995 goal was to finish a marathon.
I started running in the neighborhood when I was 50. I never did any formalized
exercise classes before that, Curry said. I was fairly active with swimming,
golf, tennis, raising a family, and being at the childrens school and sporting
From left, Bernadettes granddaughters Kristen, 10; Caroline, 5; and Caitlin, 7.
I never entertained the thought of running in races. I began to run to keep fit,
and also to utilize the time to listen to music and motivational tapes in my Walkman, or
just to think and let my mind wander.
Indeed, her children give her their full support.
Currys first competition began after her daughter, Susan, who runs, suggested the
Linda Yalem Run at the University of New York at Buffalo (UB).
Bernadette (second from right) with her
children (from left) John,
Since she started, Currys children have equipped her with her first pair of
running shoes, and a watch that gives times and splits.
Bernadette with her doctoral
On her birthday and Mothers Day her children often come bearing running-related
Her Chicago-based son, John, and Buffalo native son, Kevin, are also runners.
I like to be competitive, Curry said.
As a youngster, she competed in dance roller skating. She and skating partner, Bill
Landry, took 1st place in New York State and 9th in the country.
It seems like I do so many things with my feet, she added, listing country
dancing and aerobics as well as running.
Curry definitely shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
She came up through the ranks at Niagara University, and now is Associate Professor and
Chairwoman of the Junior Department of Nursing, College of Nursing. Shes held other
positions there including Enrollment Coordinator, and has been Instructor of Child Health
at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Staff Nurse at Kenmore Mercy
Particularly at this point in life, its good to stay active, Curry
said. I try to set new and exciting goals. I got my doctorate at 52, which I started
working toward before I was 50. Im pleased and satisfied with myself.
She is also a prolific writer of professional articles, and is currently writing a
chapter for a nursing textbook, her1996 goal.
An avid traveler, she especially enjoys trips to France, and is working to improve her
French before her next trip.
Curry believes that her running compliments her professional side, because one of her
favorite quotes from a running journal is: When you run, your body is exercising and
your mind is relaxing.
Bernadette at age 11, with her dancing roller skating partner, Bill Landry.
Its an invigorating experience, Curry noted. And the
camaraderie is phenomenal. Everybody is so helpful and encouraging. I am not an
outstanding runner, but I thoroughly enjoy the activity and the people.
What matters is that youre there. It gives you a different perspective. You
can always do new things and learn new things no matter how old you are.
Curry also lives by another credo: Why not do it? If you choose not to do
something, the event is going to go on without you.
When she passed a young North Carolina man (who found his legs feeling quite heavy) on
mile 21 at the Marine Corps Marathon, she learned this runners prayer: Dear
Lord, if youll pick up my legs for me, I promise Ill put each one of them
There is no doubt, that with Bernadette Dorsch Currys positive attitude,
enthusiasm and great discipline, her BEST Is Yet To Come!
Deanne Bartha is a free-lance journalist who lives in Western New York.
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