Daughter’s request motivates Cynthia Monteleone to train and renew her track and field career
LAHAINA – Life just couldn’t be sweeter for West Side resident Cynthia Monteleone.
Happily married, raising three young children, growing a thriving business venture in Lahaina Town (a bakery named Maui Sugar Shop no less!), this 41-year-old seems to have found the key to a candy cane life here on the Valley Isle.
And just as the memories of sweeping sugar cane fields started to fade, Monteleone brought even more sweetness to her family with an extraordinary accomplishment at the North Central Caribbean World Masters Athletics World Regional Championships in Toronto on Aug. 11-13.
Inspired by her 12-year-old daughter, Margaret Reese, to renew her track and field career, Momma Monteleone, who had just finished her first year coaching the Lahainaluna High School track and field team, renewed her high school and college training regimen that had taken her to sterling accomplishments at Liberty High School in New York and at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, respectively.
Her running career began at age 13 and continued through her high school years at Liberty as she became a sectional champion and a state competitor in the grueling long distance sprints at 200 and 400 meters.
She continued her championship successes at UNCW from 1993-97, as she established top indoor 500-meter marks as an All-East Coast scholar athlete. She is listed as a top three performer in the school’s history.
Cynthia was also honored as an all-academic athlete for four years and graduated in ’97 with Magna Cum Laude honors and a degree in Art and History.
But serious training and running competitively were just a fading memory in the rearview mirror until Margaret Reese said to mom one day, “Mom, I want to run the 400 like you did in college.”
That was about a year ago, and since then, Cynthia has set a training regimen for herself that includes four strength training sessions a week in the gym and three workouts on the track under the tutelage of coach Rudy Huber, as well as actively working with the newly formed Lahaina Heat track club.
Her first competition was the USTAF Nationals at Baton Rouge, LA, in July, where she finished fourth in both the Women 40 200- and 400-meter races.
Then it was on to the NCCWMA Regionals in Toronto earlier this month, where Monteleone won a silver medal in the W40 400 with a 61.0 clocking and a fourth place finish in the 200 with a personal record time of 27.5.
She was then asked to anchor the 4 x 400 relay team, and lo and behold, the foursome of Lisa Daley (age 47), Latricia Dendy (44), Mary Lou Johnson (43) and Monteleone raced to a gold medal in setting a meet record time of 4:16 that eclipsed the old standard by 12 seconds.
“What an amazing experience,” she exclaimed after returning to Maui with NCCWMA W40 gold and silver medals around her neck.
Now, prodded by Coach Rudy, she has set her sights on the 400 record of 56.9. “I thought he was kidding at first, but now I’m inspired to try. I will start training in September for next year’s nationals at Spokane in July, and the World Championships next September in Malaga, Spain,” she said.
“Through Masters Track, I have found a new family of real life superheroes. It is amazing what people can do if they put their mind and heart into it. You are never too old – just look at Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins, who, at 101 years young, won the gold medal in the 100-meter final in world record time!”
“Most of all, mahalo to my husband Zane for his unconditional love and support, the inspiration from Margaret Reese to run again after 20 years, my coach Rudy Huber, all connected with the amazing Lahainaluna track facility, especially Sue Cooley, and Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch and Jon Conrad,” she concluded.