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January 1996

Marathoner Bernadette Curry


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 Philosophy.

She has added her favorite love of running - and in her family room is a table full of trophies to prove it.

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Bernadette Curry.

Admittedly competitive, Curry recently finished the Washington D.C. Marine Corps Marathon.

This 26-mile marathon attracted more than 19,000 runners from all over the country.

Curry’s 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 January.

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 events.”

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From left, Bernadette’s 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.

Curry’s first competition began after her daughter, Susan, who runs, suggested the “Linda Yalem Run” at the University of New York at Buffalo (UB).

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Bernadette (second from right) with her children (from left) John,
Susan and Kevin.

Since she started, Curry’s children have equipped her with her first pair of running shoes, and a watch that gives times and splits.

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Bernadette with her doctoral
study advisor, Dr. Walter Hobbs,
a UB professor.

On her birthday and Mother’s Day her children often come bearing running-related gifts.

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. She’s 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 Hospital.

“Particularly at this point in life, it’s 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. I’m 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.”

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Bernadette at age 11, with her dancing roller skating partner, Bill Landry.

“It’s 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 you’re 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 runner’s prayer: “Dear Lord, if you’ll pick up my legs for me, I promise I’ll put each one of them down.”

There is no doubt, that with Bernadette Dorsch Curry’s 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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