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Colomb-Janin has a gift for this

By Jim Greenidge, Globe Staff, 04/20/99

istance running is not a sport that you would usually associate with France. It's not particularly popular there, in terms of either participation or spectating.

Which brings us to Josette Colomb-Janin, of Les Eparres, France. She wasn't interested in sports at all until she turned 35 years old.

Her husband Joseph, a marathoner who ran Boston last year, convinced his wife to take up running by giving her sneakers for her 35th birthday.

Colomb-Janin, now 46, loves the sport now. She won the women's masters division yesterday, placing 14th overall, with a 2:40:36 clocking. That was good enough to put $11,700 in her pocketbook - $10,000 for winning the women's masters, $1,700 for her overall finish.

In her only other Boston Marathon, 1997, Colomb-Janin also took the women's masters title, in 2:40:53.

Her feet were hurting yesterday, the result, she thought, of a race two weeks ago in Paris where the surface was too hard.

''I didn't feel it was too easy, so I was very careful,'' said Colomb-Janin. ''The weather was perfect, not too warm and not too cold. I was very pleased with my time, though. In fact, I think I'll come back next year.

''The thing I like most about this event is the atmosphere. I feel I'm still very quick, besides having the endurance to run marathons.''

Colomb-Janin spent two months preparing for Boston, training during a noon-2 p.m. lunch break from her banking job.

''Most marathoners in my country go on the road twice a week,'' she said. ''I'm just too busy with my work. I do about 80 kilometers a week, or about 50 miles.

''My husband ran all the time as a youngster and then he stopped before picking up the sport again. He knew that I never really wanted to run, though. He kept talking to me about running more and more.

''And then on my birthday, when I opened the birthday gift, I went jogging for the first time. It was about 2,000 meters. And then in my first marathon, that in 1994, I placed third in Lyon, France, and I was our country's first finisher.''

This story ran on page F04 of the Boston Globe on 04/20/99.
© Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.

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