Syracuse Online

Coreen Steinbach

Faster with Age

Published May 5, 2003 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

I met Coreen Steinbach at the 1990 Cazenovia Fourth of July 5K road race. We ran together most of the way, and entered the park side-by-side. We sprinted all out towards the chute. In oxygen debt and a brief lapse in chivalry, I elbowed her to the wrong side of the ropes, and went on the cross the finish line in a personal record.

In the years that followed my hollow victory, Steinbach ran faster as I grew older. Now in her early fifties, she is setting personal records at every distance. From 800 meters in 2:34 and a mile in 5:44, to 10K in 41:02 and 10 miles in 69:02, she is ranked fifth internationally in the mile, and ranked nationally at many distances.

Steinbach was born in Teaneck, NJ, and grew up in Bucks County, Pa. She studied speech pathology at Penn State. She never competed in high school or in college. An inactive teenager, Steinbach started running in graduate school for weight control, while pursuing a master of science in clinical audiology at Syracuse University.

She ran her first race in her mid-thirties, the Freihofers. 10K at Onondaga Lake Park, and was hooked on racing. Steinbach told me recently: .I am intrigued, mystified and totally seduced by certain distances. I can't stay away from the mile and 5k, although I find them shear torture. I think my favorites, though, are 10k and 800 m, but I truly love it all, it doesn't matter. I just love to compete..

Speaking of torture, Steinbach has completed five marathons: two Marine Corps, two Bostons, and a 3:23 PR at Chicago. She credits her steady improvement over the past two decades to remaining free of injury.

In addition to the roads and the track, Steinbach expresses her love for running on canvas. She has enjoyed drawing since her childhood. In 1990, she painted a group of runners for her own house. Her friends liked the painting, so she reproduced it and sold it at road races. Success followed, and she was commissioned to paint artwork for major events like the Utica Boilermaker and the Freihofers. Run for Women.

Steinbach has since expanded into painting other athletes, but running remains the source of her inspiration. An exhibit of her sports artwork is on display at The Happy Endings Coffee House in downtown Syracuse throughout the month of May, and on her web site at

© 2003 The Post-Standard.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at