NORWALK, Conn. – Julie Heaphy put a unique twist on the “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” bromide this summer. The Norwalk runner was always the bride, never the bridesmaid — in more ways than one.
Heaphy, 30, won every race in the women’s division of the Norwalk-based Lightfoot Running Club this summer. She will try for an unprecedented sweep of the races in Saturday’s series conclusion, the Sam Elpern Half Marathon. The race begins at 8 a.m. at Fox Run School.
To cap off her dream summer, Heaphy married Lucas Finco on Aug. 25. Happily for Heaphy, the wedding fell between the Lightfoot races. “It worked out perfectly,’’ Heaphy said. “My mother said jokingly that it’s a good thing there weren’t any races on the wedding day so that we would’ve had to move the wedding. She knows how much I like running in them.”
Beginning with the 3-mile race in June, Heaphy has won the women’s division in every event since. At distances of 5, 7, 9 and 11 miles, Heaphy led the women’s field. She even led the overall series standings for men and women for a while but has slipped into second place. No woman has ever won the overall title in the series, which began in 1978. She still leads the women's overall standings.
“It’s been fabulous,’’ Heaphy said. “It’s a great series. It’s nice to come back every summer to these races and do them again.”
Heaphy has been mostly unchallenged, too, often finishing in the top five overall. She finished seventh overall, out of 111 runners, in the 11-mile race Aug. 18. She won by more than four minutes. Heaphy could cement her legacy by establishing a course record in Saturday's half marathon. Kiki Sweigert’s time of 1:20:25 has stood since 1981.
“That would be amazing, that record is really fast,’’ Heaphy said. “I’m not really focusing on any fall races, so I’ll go all out. The weather should be perfect. I’d like to finish on a good note.”