By Tyler Ohmann
Little Falls soccer team’s starting midfielder, Melissa Geisenhof, recently completed another feat of athletics—her first marathon.
Geisenhof, a junior, completed the Mankato Marathon with her brother Robert, 25, Oct. 18.
Geisenhof had played a playoff soccer game the day before, Saturday, Oct. 17 and then again two days after, Tuesday, Oct. 20.
“Playing the game on Saturday went well, but I knew I had to run a marathon the next day, and after that I didn’t
do anything at all on Monday,” Geisenhof said. “The first 10 minutes of the game, Tuesday, my legs were pretty sore, but they got warmed up, and it was fine for the rest of the game.”
First year Little Falls head soccer coach Scott Orians was skeptical at first, when Geisenhof brought up the marathon, but quickly looked past Geisenhof’s marathon training.
“I was concerned that the training she was doing during the season was going to affect her play, but she proved me wrong,” Orians said. “Even when she was doing her long training runs, I didn’t notice anything different about her level of play in games or practice.”
He was very impressed with her conditioning, and Geisenhof admits that her marathon training helped her stay on the field.
“I hardly ever had a sub during a game, and I play midfield,” Geisenhof said. “I feel like it (running) helped.”
“It was hard to train during soccer, but it went good,” she added.
Geisenhof finished first in her age group in the marathon on race day with a time of 4:01.51 a little over a 9-minute mile pace, besting her brother by five minutes.
She and her brother began running a couple years ago with half marathons. They chose Mankato because that was where they ran their first half, and it happened to be the month before Robert would go down to Las Vegas, Nev. and run a marathon with his friends.
“It was a big jump, but I felt really good for the first half,” Geisenhof said of the Oct. 18 race. “It got tough at about mile 20, but some of my fastest miles came at mile 23, 24.”
Despite enjoying running, Geisenhof said cross country never entered her mind as a choice in place of soccer.
“I like soccer a lot, and I can still run on my own time,” Geisenhof said.
Her coach said that soccer was never put on the back burner for training either.
“She never asked for any accommodation or time off from practice during her training,” Orians said. “She really stepped up on the field this year and played all 80 minutes in nearly every game this season.”
Geisenhof said she will continue to run half marathons for sure, as those are her favorite, but a full marathon could also be in her future, she just isn’t sure yet.