All Anna Murdock was looking for was a race.
A win? That was the furthest thing from her mind.
She hadn’t competed in a year, was not in the best shape and had sore knees.
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But it didn’t matter.
She won, anyway. And won big.
“I was a little shocked,” said Murdock, who won Saturday’s Finish Line 500 Festival 5K women’s race in Indianapolis — a full 19 seconds ahead of her nearest challenger.
A former standout at Franklin College and Indian Creek High School, she won with a time of 19:14.9. There were 2,598 women in the field.
“I was very excited, obviously,” said Murdock, who finished 11th overall among men and women. “It’s always nice to win. I was happy.”
A 2015 Franklin College graduate, Murdock capped a brilliant four-year career last May by winning the 800-meter run at the NCAA Division III Outdoor National Championships.
A few weeks later, she won the Memorial Day Mile in Franklin and competed in the Monumental Mile in Indianapolis but hadn’t raced since.
Slowed by assorted injuries, especially to her knees, Murdock has spent most of the past year working herself back into shape while working a full-time job.
Her post-college plan all along was to continue training and competing in running events, either in USA Track and Field meets or as an unattached runner in college meets. But her ailments, coupled with the fact is she no longer a full-time athlete, have gotten in the way.
“I’m not where I want to be. I’m not where I would like to be,” Murdock said. “It’s different not having the athletic trainer there every day.
“I’m just trying to transition to the real world, I guess you could say.”
But she still has running goals, and she regards the 5K race as a springboard back to competition.
A membership development manager for Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, Murdock entered the 5K with no particular order of finish in mind. She wanted to finish in less than 20 minutes. Her running coach, Jeff Powers of Franklin, wanted her to finish in under 19.
She wound up splitting the difference — and still won the race.
“Since I hadn’t raced in so long, I really didn’t know what I could do, so I just wanted to see what I could do,” Murdock said. “I wasn’t really sure what the competition was like. My goal was to run under 20. My coach wanted me to run under 19.
“We met in the middle a little bit.”
Winning was a pleasant surprise on a day that involved her family.
Murdock’s parents, Roger and Barbi Murdock, walked the 5K. Her older sister, Meghan Murdock, 26, ran the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon.
“I did this one with the family,” she said. “So it was a lot of fun.”
Name: Anna Murdock
High school: Indian Creek
College: Franklin College
High school and college sports: Cross-country, track and field
Family: Parents are Roger and Barbi Murdock; older sister, Meghan Murdock