Meet Long Island’s top woman marathoner: Cristin Delaney-Guille


Cristin Delaney-Guille grew up in Floral Park, but about 18 years ago, she packed up and moved to Long Beach.

Delaney-Guille, 43, gave birth to a daughter, Olivia, shortly afterward, and then started jogging to try to get back into pre-pregnancy shape. She had never run before, but her husband, Brian Guille, suggested that they run Long Beach’s 4-mile Snowflake Race together in February 2008. They did, and it wiped Cristin out — but that was only the beginning.

“My body wasn’t used to pushing it, and at that point that was pushing it,” she recalled of her first race. “But I got addicted immediately, and I remember going on my laptop and immediately looking for the next race that I could do. I got bit by the race bug, and I loved it.”

Later that year, Delaney-Guille began training for her first marathon, the Philadelphia Marathon. She took to the distance, and entered a marathon each fall for a few years before adding one each spring as well. She has run Boston and New York, and smaller marathons, like one on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk. She’s a member of Long Run Crew, a team she joined in 2008.

Delaney-Guille ran the Boston Marathon for the third time last month, finishing in 3 hours, 7 minutes, 38 seconds. Then, just 20 days later, on May 5, she not only ran the Long Island Marathon for the third time as well, but this time was the first women’s finisher, in 3:03:13, her best time ever.

“It was hot at the start,” she said of Boston. “It’s a hilly course. I was proud of my run, because it was a P.R.” — a personal record at the time — “but I just felt like on a cooler day, on a flatter course, I might have had a little more to give. So that’s why I decided to run Long Island. Since I had a bunch of friends running, anyway, I knew it would be fun.”

Her 22nd marathon had her particularly excited. Delaney-Guille, who works in the after-school program at Norman J. Levy Lakeside School in Merrick, said that time dragged in the week before the race. Thursday felt like Tuesday, and she kept checking the weather, day after day, to make sure it wouldn’t be too hot or cold on Sunday.

She intended to start her run at a certain pace, but when the gun went off, she was too excited, and had trouble controlling her speed. That didn’t seem to be a problem.

“I felt comfortable — it’s really the best run I’ve ever had,” she said. “Marathons get hard at some point for everyone, no matter what. And this one, it’s the longest that I felt good out of any of my marathons, and I was happy. Seeing some of the pictures that friends took from along the course . . . I just remember how happy I was at that point. I was just having a really good time.”

Delaney-Guille was maintaining a good pace, and was in fifth place or so among the top women for much of the race. At around Mile 16, one of the course monitors, riding a bike, pulled up next to her and told her that the woman in second place was 100 meters ahead of her, and the leader was only 100 meters farther ahead. She had no idea she was in such a good position, and that was when her run “became a race,” she said.

She took over first place at around Mile 22, and kept the lead to the finish in Eisenhower Park, though she remembers fearing that another woman might come up from behind to pass her. Running scared, Delaney-Guille said, is a great motivator.

When she crossed the line and realized what she had just accomplished, she felt a rush of emotions. “I almost started to cry,” she recounted, “and then I started laughing, because my coach and teammate had just finished right before me. But I couldn’t believe it. A lot of my teammates, who were either on the course or who had just finished, were right there at the finishing chute, and I just knew they were proud of me. It’s an amazing feeling to win a race that’s that long.”

Long Run Crew’s founder, Joseph Jensen, of Wantagh, helps train Delaney-Guille and her teammates, and she said he has been a major help in her journey.

“I was still almost annoyed at my time, because the conditions (were) perfect, and I still couldn’t run a 3:01,” she said. “So we were laughing, because I’m never happy. Even when I’m ecstatic, I’m never happy. I always want to go faster, which I think is good. It’s the whole point of doing these all the time.”

Delaney-Guille is planning to run again soon, in the 47th annual Long Beach City Manager’s 10-mile Race to Remember on May 26.