ILLIAMS had been athletic most of her life but had not considered running
until 2002. She entered a race, won it, and became hooked. She posted impressive
results over the next several years in distances ranging from 5 kilometers to the
half marathon (13.1 miles). It was during her first full marathon that she suffered
her first major setback, a debilitating injury to her foot.
The injury cost months of training, but Williams, like Prefontaine, is determined, tough, and dedi-cated.
She cannot admit defeat. Common among world-class athletes and other highly successful
people, this character trait propels people like Williams to highs, allowing them to inspire others to
achieve their own goals.
That fortitude of character allowed Williams to survive her late 40s, “that awful phase in a woman’s
life called menopause, the point in life where the nuts,
bolts, screws, and wheels all come off at the same time,”
she says. “Injury after injury, hormonal changes, mood
swings, sleepless nights, heart palpitations, you name it!”
Desperate to continue competing despite suffering
chronic running injuries, Williams turned to triathlons
to quench her competitive thirst. Again, she proved
successful, placing on the podium in virtually every
race she entered.
The fitness she gained from triathlons paid off. She
ran her second marathon in a blistering 3 hours and
42 minutes, stamping her ticket to the 2015 Boston
Marathon, a race with very strict qualifying standards
for all ages.
Desperate to continue competing
despite suffering chronic running
injuries, Williams turned to triathlons
to quench her competitive thirst.
COURTESY ALECIA WILLIAMS
Steady rain and near-freezing temperatures greeted
runners in Boston that year, but Williams wasn’t deterred.
“I was raring to go,” she says. “When I made that finish
line, I choked up with emotion. It was one of my greatest
Williams ran well enough to requalify for the follow-ing
Alecia Williams placed second in her age group at
the 2019 Azalea Sprint Triathlon in Wilmington after
recovering from three surgeries to repair her broken
femur. Opposite: Williams finishes the 2014 Age Group
National Championship Olympic Distance Triathlon in
WBM january 2020
year. Little did she know that race would hand her a
challenge that would end most runners’ careers.
On race day, the weather in Boston was hot, dry, and
miserable. Dehydration, cramping and heat exhaustion
ran rampant among the runners. Despite the conditions,
Williams ran a strong pace for 23 miles. Then, it happened.