Category: Area Births

Leslie Molinaro-Craven returns to running the Half Marathon

PARKERSBURG — Leslie Molinaro-Craven is constantly on the go.

If the 41-year-old runner isn’t helping her husband Shawn at Anytime Fitness in Vienna, she’s transporting her 14- and 10-year-old sons to baseball games and being a soccer mom to her 7-year-old daughter.

“I’m very busy — here, there and everywhere,” smiled Molinaro-Craven before starting out on a River City Runners and Walkers Club-guided 9-mile training run at 5:30 p.m. June 24 at City Park.

When Molinaro-Craven laces up her running shoes, and goes out for a training run, it’s almost like a break from all of the other activities she’s involved in during the week.

“It’s good to run with other people on Monday,” Molinaro-Craven said. “It keeps me going, and plus there are water stops along the route.”

Molinaro-Craven said she also has trained solo and competed in local road races.

“I try to run four or five days a week,” she said. “And, I just ran the Chick-Fil-A 10K and before that I did the Vienna 5-miler. I’m trying to get back on the running circuit.”

And, on the circuit, of course, is The Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon on Aug. 17.

“Last year, I said that this year was my year, and I’m going to do it,” Molinaro-Craven said.

Actually, Molinaro-Craven is no stranger to the Half. She’s run in several of them but not since 2010 when she covered the 13.1-mile distance in 2 hours, 15.16 minutes.

“I’ve actually run it in 1:40,” she said. “But I can’t do that now.

“Hey, I’m just getting back into it. I’m not pushing for any goals. I used to be competitive, but now I just want to finish.”

A 1996 Parkersburg High grad, Molinaro-Craven ran cross country and track for Big Reds coaches George Angelos and Susan Gardner, respectively. Both Angelos and Gardner later became Mid-Ohio Valley Hall of Famers.

“My dad (Lou Molinaro) got me interested in running, and I started in junior high,” recalled Molinaro-Craven. “I started running cross country in the 10th grade. I loved cross country, a lot more than track. It was just fun with different races and trails.”

After graduating from PHS, Molinaro-Craven was good enough to run cross country at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

“I was OK,” she said. “I mean, I think I actually got better as a runner as I got older.”

Molinaro said before marrying Shawn, she ran in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.

“It was 15 years ago before I had kids,” she said. “And I’ll never do another one. I hit the wall at mile 18 but I finished.

“That was my one and done. I can say I did one.”

As for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half, Molinaro-Craven knows from past experiences that the 13.1-mile course can also be very challenging.

“It’s a tough one,” she said. “It’s got a lot of rolling hills. And, it never fails to be hot and humid every single year on that week.”

Molinaro-Craven paused.

“It’s kind of a love-hate relationship,” she added. “You know, you kind of hate it, but you kind of love it. It’s a really good course, and there are a lot of people out on it on Gihon Road, cheering with signs.”

Molinaro-Craven said that she’s expecting her older brother Mike Molinaro and older sister Lisa Thackrah to also run this year’s Half.

“They usually run it every year,” Molinaro-Craven said. “I might run with my sister for a little bit if we’re on the same pace.”

Ron Johnston can be reached at [email protected]