Racing Across America

Nancy Guth, 72, of Stafford, crushes “The World’s Toughest Race.

GREG SALE

In June, Nancy Guth became the first woman over 70 to compete in the Race Across America (RAAM), the grueling 3,037 mile ride from San Diego to Annapolis known in the cycling world as “The World’s Toughest Race.” Guth’s team, all over 70, finished in 8 days, 4 hours, and 17 minutes, the fastest for their age group. 

“Being out there, riding as hard as you can, you lose your age,” Guth, an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University, told the school’s Mason News, after her fourth RAAM. “You don’t think of yourself as ‘a senior,’ you think of yourself as a strong person. And that’s very empowering.”

Since 2010, Guth has tackled the cross-country race six times, once setting a record with her husband, John. Her achievements inspired The World Ultracycling Association to create the “Nancy Guth Award” in 2021, to recognize the female ultra-cyclist who’s made the most substantial contribution to the sport. “And of course,” says Marc Poland, the association’s president, “the first recipient was Nancy, herself!”  

A former supervisor for Stafford County Public Schools, Guth and her husband benefit from small sponsorships, but mostly fund their own races, which can cost $20,000. “We ride because we love to ride—and we love to ride together,” as John puts it. “We’re spending our retirement. It’s our health. It’s our vacation. It’s a passion.” 

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