The Tougher, the Better
Kim Moody, a native of Gorham, competed during the 1970s and ‘80s and became one of the best marathoners and ultra marathoners in the nation. She was a national champion at 50 miles, running the second fastest time ever by an American and the third fastest in the world. She also placed 7th in the Boston Marathon, one of only three Maine Running Hall of Fame members to ever finish in the Top 10 at Boston.
Moody, born on June 18, 1955, began running for fitness in 1973 while she was an exchange student in Norway. Later, while attending Westbrook College in Portland, she was encouraged to try racing by instructor Ted Perry, with whom she sometimes ran. Her first race was the Roland Dyer lOK in Portland, in March of 1976. The race was two miles further than she had ever run before. Discovering that she had talent for running, she was motivated to try more racing. She became interested in the marathon and quickly excelled. She ran her first one, Casco Bay in Portland, in 1978, and did well enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Several marathons later, Moody eventually recorded her personal best of 2:46 at Boston in 1985, placing 7th among all women. “This was a big thrill, to place so high in such a prestigious race,” said Moody.
In 1981, she was second in the hilly Casco Bay Marathon in 2:54, won the Maine Coast Marathon, and ran her first ultra marathon at the Maine Rowdy Ultimate 24-Hour competition on the campus of Bowdoin College. She finished first among women, completing 102 miles in 20 hours. Moody later ran many ultras, including the Rowdy 50-miler in Brunswick, which she won several times.
Of her 10 career marathons, she won both the Casco Bay Marathon and the Maine Coast Marathon several times each, with bests of 2:54:39 and 2:50:07, respectively. In 1983, she finished first among women in the Chicago National Championship 50-Miler, in a time of 6 hours, 30 minutes.
Moody, 5-foot-4 and 122 pounds, was named Maine’s “Runner of the Year” three times – 1979, 1980 and 1982. In 1984, at Lake Waramaug, Connecticut, she ran the second fastest time ever run by an American at 50 miles, recording a time of 6:01. It was just a minute off the American best and five minutes off the world best. She even ran the prestigious and grueling Western States 100 several times, taking third place in 1984 in 20 hours, 55 minutes. Her time of 2:51 at Boston in 1984 (28th among women) qualified her for the Olympic Trials Marathon. She competed in the trials that year as well as in 1988. Moody also ran excellent times at the shorter distances, running the Bonny Bell lOK in 1984 in 36:25.
A critical care nurse and 1981 University of Southern Maine graduate, Moody eventually earned a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Washington in 1994. She lived in Seattle, Washington from 1986 until 1994, returning to Maine to take a faculty position at USM.
Moody said that among her greatest moments in running were winning the Lake Waramaug 50-miler and her participation in the 1984 Olympic marathon trials, won by fellow Maine resident Joan Benoit. “I enjoyed most of all the camaraderie and the celebration of my fellow runners’ improvement as well as my own,” said Moody in 1994, the year she was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame.
One of those who was greatly impressed with Moody was Bob Coughlin of Cape Elizabeth who used to train and race with her. “Kim never shied away from the tough races, Casco Bay Marathon, 50- and 100-milers, Rocky Coast lOK and Mt. Washington – these are just a few examples,” said Coughlin. “She not only showed up, but she completed them all at an exceptional level. I know. I’ve chased her in many of them. Kim walked the walk and never had to talk the talk,” Coughlin said. “I remember a 24-hour relay held at Portland Stadium. Eight runners were on a team. Each runner ran a mile and handed off to the next runner. By 2-to-3 o’clock in the morning, everyone was wiped out. Kim never lost her quick smile or sense of humor. This is one of the special traits I’ve seen over the years.” Coughlin continued, “The longer and harder the event, the more Kim would reel in competitors, and the bigger her smile became. She just seemed to enjoy the competition and pushing herself. Kim always was as supportive to others as she was in setting and meeting personal goals. She was a wonderful training partner. Cold, wind, rain, it didn’t matter. If she said she would meet you at 7:00 a.m., she was there. She made our training runs effective because of her strength in pacing, as well as therapeutic in her feedback on all the groups banter on injuries, personal problems, and future goals. Kim’s a great friend,” he said.
“Last, I would like to state that Kim was one of the few Maine Track Club members who had the respect of the Maine Rowdies, or at least their version of respect. She never lost the friendships she built up over the early years in the Maine Track Club. Kim gave many lectures on training and would talk with anyone after or before a race. She set high standards for herself and brought along many fellow runners and associates who were trying to keep up. Kim was always someone you could rely on. It’s always a more enjoyable event when she’s there,” Coughlin concluded.
Her husband, David Roberts, was also an outstanding distance runner and triathlete, who once won the Seattle Marathon in 2:30. The couple has two children, twins Stanis and Elyse, who are outstanding athletes in their own rights.