In college, there was a certain school in our conference whose runners all seemed to get married before graduation. (Hi, Megan!) It seemed that every fall, another one of their athletes would show up to the first race with two last names.
How was it possible that all of these young women hyphenated their last names? I wondered. It didn’t make much sense to me – hyphenation is just not that common.
Time passed. I graduated. I met and married a wonderful man, and took his last name.
Then came the time to register for my first race as a married person.
And then I got it.
It’s not like I was particularly well-known by my maiden name. I hadn’t broken any big records or won any championships. But as a runner, I had an identity. One that I wasn’t quite ready to close the books on. (Because come on, I know I’ll never be as fast as I was at 21!)
So, while my maiden name has been absent from my legal name for nearly two years, it still shows up on every set of race results – alongside my married name. It takes up way too much space in the “Name” column, it’s confusing when I register the day of races, it throws announcers for a loop, and plenty of people probably think it doesn’t make much sense.
But as a runner, that’s who I am.