Sunday, March 15, 2020

Masters Marathoners Ace the Trials-One Podium & Two American Records

March 15, 2020. Atlanta. The pre-race Masters excitement was all about the huge numbers of Women who qualified for the Olympic Marathon trials, and rightly so. It was a record number; 34 Masters women qualified and declared for the race. On race day, February 29, thirty Masters women toed the starting line and 4 men.

The numbers were closer to even among the runners who experts touted for Team USA 2020. On the Women’s side, Roberta ‘Bobbi’ Groner was the only Masters runner who was given a chance. There is something about being the top American finisher at the most recent World Championship that provides a certain cachet. Kate Landau was not considered a threat. But many would have given her some chance of making the team; she was the third American woman across the finish line at the 2018 Chicago Marathon and 6th American woman overall at the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon. I was surprised to learn when I contacted Landau for comments before the Trials, that she was not even tapering for the race. All in for Boston, the Trials was her ‘B’ race.

2020 Olympic Marathon Trials-Women's Lead Pack-Roberta Groner comfortably in top ten with pre-race favorites, Des Linden, Sara Hall, Jordan Hasay, eventual winner, Alaphine Tilliamuk colorful knitted beannie, and 3rd place finisher, Sally Kipchego green singlet and Kate Landau yellow sunglasses in background---Photo Credit--Tim Meigs/@timmeigs

In the end, it was not Groner’s day; after running in the lead pack for the first 14 miles, she started to slip back by a few seconds in Mile 15, and by Mile 16 had to withdraw due to ‘pain’. Luckily, there was no permanent harm. She tweeted a day later, “Congrats to the women and men who will be representing our country at the Olympics!...Today is a new day and I’m grateful to be healthy and not injured. I will learn from this and be back stronger.”
Kate Landau at the 2020 Olympic trials right behind Roberta Groner in the lead pack

Not tapering apparently agreed with Landau. She got in a heck of a workout, finishing as the top Masters athlete in 14th place overall in 2:34:07. It makes one wonder how high Landau might have finished had she tapered to focus on the Trials. Her view, and that of her coach, was that top 10, but not top 5, was the ceiling for her. And she had run in the 1996 Olympic Trials; that history makes a difference. When she realized her alternative was to accept a spot on the John Hancock Elite team for the Boston Marathon, it was an easy choice.  Nothing in the result challenges that judgement; Landau would have had to run 5 minutes faster for top 5, that’s over ten seconds faster pace per mile. Landau noted that she wanted to run in the lead pack, but that made for a very chaotic first 4 miles. With such a large lead pack, attention and energy had to be devoted to just protecting your space. The pace for the first part of the race felt slow to Landau but was faster than planned. Between miles 8 and 11 she realized the pace was too fast, but decided to stay with the lead pack. Landau knew the chase pack was about 11 seconds back and did not want to take a chance, in the windy conditions, of being isolated if she fell back. She was aiming for 1:17 at the half but hit it in 1:15:01; no negative split this race! Shortly after the halfway mark, a group of six started to see the lead pack pulling away. Landau was happy to stay with this new chase pack that was forming. In 16th at that point, Landau focused on keeping a pace going and finishing. Landau says she hardly noticed the hills over the last ten miles as she was dealing with major GI distress. “I lost 51 seconds to a porta-potty stop between miles 18 and 19; was I ever glad to see the finish line.” Landau finished 14th overall, taking the unofficial Masters win.

On the Men’s side, two illustrious veterans, Abdi Abdirahman, and Bernard ‘Kip’ Lagat, received national media attention ahead of the race. Lagat has had incredible success on the track with two gold and six other medals at World Championships and a Silver and a Bronze Olympic medal; up to this year he had already been on 5 Olympic teams. Abdirahman has competed for the USA in 4 Olympic Games prior to this year; he was also a member of the US team that took Bronze at the 2001 World Cross Country Championships. Abdirahman is more accomplished than Lagat at the Marathon. Lagat had the speed to contest the 1500 meters; he did not run his first marathon until New York City in 2018 when he was 43. That was a good first effort but, at 2:17:20 not close to qualifying for the Trials. The following July he headed down under, qualifying with a 7th place finish at the Gold Coast Marathon in Brisbane, Australia. Lagat ran 2:12:10, breaking Meb Keflezighi’s Masters record. No one thought he would lower his marathon best by another 5 minutes at the Trials, but it was intriguing to think whether he could improve enough to contend for the podium. Abdirahman had qualified for his first Olympic Marathon in 2012 at 35. Abdirahman had to withdraw without finishing at those London Olympics. Since then he has been a factor in major Marathons, finishing 3rd overall in 2:11:23 as 1st American in the 2016 TCS NYC Marathon, 6th overall and 3rd American in the 2017 Boston Marathon in 2:12:45, 7th in 2017 NYC in 2:12:48, and 2nd American in 2019 NYC Marathon in 2:11:34. Abdirahman’s first marathon as a masters athlete was Boston 2018, the one with punishing weather conditions  that Des Linden won, but so many abandoned. It was not a triumph for Abdi that day, but he toughed it out and finished—perhaps that memory helped on a windy day in Atlanta?!

Abdirahman and Lagat ran in the main pack of contenders for the first half of the race. Both withstood the first insertion of pace between miles 9 and 11, dropping the lead pack from 5 minutes per mile to about 4:50. 
Bernard 'Kip' Lagat strides along the streets of Atlanta on his way to a new Men's 45-49 American Marathon Record at the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials

After that, the paths diverged. When the pace accelerated a second time between miles 13 and 16, Lagat started to struggle, falling 8 seconds back in the next 0.8 miles, and then another 20 seconds in the next mile and a half. His dream of qualifying for a 6th Olympic team as a Marathoner was over. Abdirahman, on the other hand, stayed in the mix at the front. 
Abdi Abdirahman battled Atlanta resident, Matt McDonald, for third place after Mile 20 at the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials

After Mile 21, Galen Rupp left all others behind, but Abdirahman battled with Augustus Maiyo and Leonard Korir for the next 3 miles before they were joined by Jake Riley. The race for the final 2 places on the team was on! Maiyo fell back out of contention with a mile and a half to go. But there were still 3 runners in position for 2 spots. Between mile 25 and mile 26, Abdirahman and Riley generated a small gap over Korir. In the end it was enough; Korir cut down their advantage but Riley and Abdirahman took the last two spots. Riley had a little more speed in his legs for the final 50 meters, claiming 2nd, with Abdirahman third. At the age of 43, Abdihrahman became the oldest athlete to qualify for the Olympics in a running event. He kept flashing the number ‘5’ with his fingers to signify it would be his fifth Olympics for Team USA! He summed up his resolve: I'm 43 years young. I missed Rio, that was heartbreaking. I made a commitment to myself to make the 2020 team, and I did it.” He also broke the American Masters record seized by Lagat in Australia last year. Abdirahman added: "Five Olympics is amazing, but I don't do it for the fame. I just do it for the love of sports. If it was someone else, what I've been through, they would have quit the sport a long time ago. But I love running and that's why I do it."
2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials podium- L to R  Jake Riley, Galen Rupp, Abdi Abdirahman [Photo Credit-John Amis AP]

Four minutes after Abdirahman finished, Lagat came across the line in 18th position. It was a terrific performance for a 45-year old, and a new Masters 45-49 American Record. But Lagat is not ready yet to be judged by Masters standards. In a post-race interview, Lagat noted that he was so happy to be competing in the Trials and to hear from so many younger runners that he is their inspiration! Lagat added that the Marathon has been, except for the training, as enjoyable, if not more so, as any other distance he has run. It is very satisfying to have top performances from the 1500 Meters to the Marathon. Lagat is considering a try for a faster time this spring at one of the flat, fast European marathons. He has the base already; he just needs to recover from this one and then fine-tune. Let us hope that the Corona virus contingencies do not totally disrupt his plans.

As noted above, Landau was the top Masters finisher among the women. She was followed 4 minutes later by Gina Rouse, a happy surprise. Rouse’s best marathon time through September of 2019 was a 2:42:38 and she had not broken 2:50 in two Marathons after that. But it all came together in Chicago when she qualified, at age 39, in 23rd place with a 2:38:44. Last Saturday was even better as she knocked 3 more seconds off her time, for a 2:38:41, to slot in at 31st place overall out of 390 finishers. 
 Gina Rouse on her way to a top 10% finish Overall and 2nd Masters Athlete at the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta

The next Masters finisher was no surprise; Heather Lieberg has been a top open runner for years, and just eased into the Masters LDR division of 40+ this year. Sixteenth at the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathoner, Lieberg’s qualifying time of 2:34:07 came on the challenging Medtronics Twin Cities Marathon course. So hills were a part of her qualifying race and the Trials themselves. Lieberg was more conservative than Landau, staying at the back of the lead pack for the first two miles and then letting them go. She still hit the Half Marathon at 1:17:35 and was the third Masters runner across the finish line in 2:39:47.  
Heather Lieberg striding through Atlanta on the way to a top 15% finish overall and 3rd Masters at the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta

Sharon Thompson, with a 2:40:24 for 48th Overall and Laurie Knowles, with a 2:41:58 for 60th Overall, both running in their 4th Olympic Trials event, rounded out the top five Masters. Knowles had the added joy of running before relatives and friends in her hometown!

Two other men ran the Trials. Eric Loeffler, 2nd place finisher in each of the last two Club Cross Country Masters Championship was running in his 3rd straight Olympic trials Marathon but had to withdraw. Alex Taylor was a first-time qualifier who finished 105th in 2:25:19.

Besides the top 5 listed above, 24 Masters athletes were among the 390 who completed the Women’s Division of the Olympic Marathon Trials race. They are: 96 Dot McMahan 2:43:39; 126 Jenelle Deatherage 2:45:15; 132 Kelly Griffin 2:45:33; 136 Meriah Earle 2:45:46; 147 Ann Alyanak 2:46:32; 152 Allison Krausen 2:46:39; 157 Amy Robillard 2:46:52; 169 Crystal Harriss 2:47:36; 173 Dawn Grunnagle 2:47:58; 191 Melissa Hardesty 2:48:31; 206 Janet Cherobon-Bawcom 2:49:13; 215 Hilary Corno 2:49:47; 248 Ruth Brennan Morey 2:51:14; 249 Katherine Newberry 2:51:15; 281 Kasie Enman 2:52:45; 288 Raquel Rios-Reed 2:53:16; 291 Karen Dunn 2:53:32; 327 Angela Moll 2:56:58; 340 Kate DeProsperis 2:58:04; 344 Marilee Blackham 2:58:46; 354 Kristen Lawrence 3:00:58; 369 Bryanne Lauck 3:03:28; 380 Laura Kaulen 3:11:01; 381 Perry Shoemaker 3:11:08.
Personal Race Reports
In my pre-race post, I included extensive replies from three of the participants in the Women's part of the Trials. After the race they offered the following post-race insights.

Laurie Knowles
Laurie Knowles setting the pace for a group of athletes at the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta Photo Credit--Tim Meigs/@timmeigs

I was pleased with my finish.   The time was not what I wanted but the wind was brutal.  When you paired that with the hills, it made it more of a strategic race for me than a fast one. I ran with teammates for the first couple miles but then we drifted apart. Just knowing they were on the course was amazing though. I had my Atlanta Track Club (ATC) gear on, which helped me get a lot of cheers from the hometown crowds.  The spectators were unbelievable; it was like Boston.  So amazing! Especially when it’s your hometown. 

I ran really conservatively at the start on purpose. I am not a great wind runner; once  I saw the forecast, I knew I had to be cautious.  Plus, it’s just so much more fun to pick people off as you go (rather than being the one picked off!).  And lap three is the Hilliest (with the 2.2 mile add on) so I wanted to have as much left as possible.  I felt great through 18-20 or so.  The last few were really hard but they always are.

I’ll take a couple weeks off then reassess what’s next.  Probably a fall marathon but I’m not sure yet. Saturday night I went out with family and friends to dinner and then just hung out with my husband and kids. I was too tired to do much more!  

ATC did such an awesome job putting this event on.  Truly, running in it was one of the highlights of my racing career! The crowds were awesome, water stops were easy, and the challenging course made for a grueling but rewarding race."

Meriah Earle
Meriah Earle Center navigates the Marathon course in Atlanta at the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta

"This past weekend was amazing! The Atlanta Track Club put on quite a show and I will never forget how cool it was to be at, what I hope, is just my first Olympic Trials. To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed with my race. I think I was ranked 5th among masters runners going in and had the 38th seed overall, so I was certainly hoping to place higher. I knew the time for this course wouldn’t be pretty, so I wasn’t concerned about that; I had just hoped to be a bit more competitive. I knew pretty early that my legs just weren’t there. By the halfway point I had already switched over to the “lets just enjoy this" mind set and try to finish. I was actually surprised when I came in, that the time was still under three hours. I felt like I was almost jogging the last 15 miles or so. 

The biggest issue with the weather was the wind of course.. Ha, ha! I think we were all getting tossed around out there! Construction cones blown across the course almost took me out! There were some headwinds where I’m pretty sure I was staying in one spot as I leaned in and tried to move forward. Next to Boston 2018 these were the worst conditions I’ve ever raced in! I think I prepared pretty well for the hills. I don’t think I could have prepared for the wind other than maybe doing some long runs on the soft sand??? Who knows? I handled the cold better than I expected. I was a little chilly in the shade and breathed a sigh of relief when the course moved into the sun, but had no major issues. Kept my gloves, sleeves and ear warmers on the whole time 👍

Strategically I wish I had positioned myself differently at the start. I lined up in the middle of the street and when we started out so slowly the first mile I was boxed in as women were falling right in front of me and getting trampled. I panicked and made my goal of the first mile to just get out of the mess and move to the outside. When I was finally able to get out, I found myself running with the lead pack and probably ran the first 5-10 k faster than I should have. That being said, I had no idea what our pace was ... My GPS said I was running 4:05 pace at one point which I knew was wrong. I tried to go by the course clocks and at the first mile we were around 6:12 which was well within my range. I guess we picked it up after that because the fatigue set in quickly. [2nd 2 miles were run at 5:40 pace-PC] Still, I get to say I ran with Des Linden for a few miles in a marathon. 😊

Recovery is going well. Quads were sore for a few days after, but my resting heart rate is already below what it was the week of the race. I expect to resume easy running on Saturday and I’m getting a massage tonight to flush out the legs a little bit. I rolled my ankle around mile 8 in a pot hole. That has been stiff this week, so I’ll have it looked at. 

I’m running a half in April and possibly the Gary Bjorklund Half-Marathon at Grandma's in June. As for my next 26.2, NY 2020?? Although the idea of another hilly and cold marathon right now does not sound like the best idea, ha ha!"

Melissa Hardesty 
Melissa Hardesty competing for a spot as an Olympic Marathoner at the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta
"The course was tough, and the wind was insane! I felt myself blowing around, and I did not have the opportunity to tuck into a pack as much as I would have wanted. I was happy to find out I finished in the top half of the field. That's about where I suspected I would end up in terms of marathon ability and fitness. I ran conservatively because of the course and conditions; that paid off in terms of finishing place. I think I moved up a hundred places between the half and the finish. However, I had too much gas in the tank coming into the final stretch. Obviously there are no do-overs, but if I could go back, I would have pushed harder in the last two miles. 

I will probably take a week off from running but incorporate some long walks to get the blood flowing and speed recovery. Roll Recovery gave trials qualifiers their new deep tissue roller. I like foam rolling and plan to spend some time on that when my muscle soreness goes away. Next week, I may run every other day, then build mileage from there. 

I'm registered to run the Seneca7 relay, a 77.7 mile 7-person relay around Seneca Lake on April 26th. Aside from that, I don't know. I may register for the 10k at the World Masters Athletics (WMA) Outdoor Championships in Toronto."

Three cheers for all who qualified; three more for those who made it to the starting line, and an extra three for those who finished! It was a strong statement about the very high quality of Masters LDR in the US. Hats off to Atlanta and the Atlanta Track Club. The athletes invariably praised the operations and the tremendous support they received from the people of Atlanta who lined the course and cheered them on!

Sources: B. Lagat interview-- [ subscription required];
[Roberta Groner-Twitter account]
Abdi Abdirahman interview: “Two Arizona Runners Make US Olympic marathon team” by Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic-online:

Friday, March 6, 2020

Gate River Run 2020-My Next Race

March 6, 2020. It is the evening before the gun for the Gate River Run goes off. Gate has been the USATF Open 15K Championship for more years than I can remember. Its most infamous characteristic is the Hart Bridge, which looms over the runners as they approach mile 8. The ascent is a half mile long, cresting at 8.3 miles. From the apex of the bridge it is a downhill 3/4ths of a mile with a flat last quarter mile to the finish. There have been some great duels that played ut there. A few years back, Ben True won such a duel where both he and the 2nd place finisher ran a sub-4:00 mile. The first year I ran it in 2015, I was in the midst of a hamstring rehab and could only manage a 1:10:40 at the age of 69. That might seem pretty fast except that a year and a half earlier, when 68, I had run a 1:01:35. That year Skechers had a promotion because Meb Keflezighi was running the race; they gave a free pair of Skechers to the person in each age/gender division who had the fastest last mile. I was nowhere near fast enough that year. I was hoping for better luck in 2016 as I had essentially recovered from the right hamstring injury although I had not had time to fully regain fitness. I fared much better as a 70-74 year old. I finished 2nd, just 34 seconds behind Robert Hendrick, who competed on the USATF Masters Grand Prix circuit a couple of years later. We became good friends as well as rivals. My time was 1:08:34 but I had the fastest last mile in 6:44, 13 seconds faster than Hendrick. Meb did not run Gate River that year, so no free pair of shoes for me [darn!]. But the other thing I got was the single age record for 70-year olds. Heading into 2020, that record still holds. I did not run Gate in 2017, 2018, nor 2019 as the USATF Masters 8K Championship was in mid-March, typically one week after Gate; I did not feel it would be fair to my teammates to run a 15K that close to the 8K. When the Shamrock Marathon/Towne Bank 8K in Virginia Beach decided to stop hosting the Championship after their 3-years, I began to look at Gate River again. And, with many thanks to Race Director, Doug Alred, for responding favorably to my request, here I am. As usual, I drove from Indy to South Georgia on Thursday and drove the last couple of hours to Jacksonville on Friday. The first order of business was to pick up my bib at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds, where the Expo is held.

I took the opportunity to examine a couple of helpful signs to remind me where I should go in the morning. They are using a new starting line in 2020, on Duval Street west of the TIAA Bank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and adjacent to the Fairgrounds. In 2015 and 2016, they started on Gator Bowl Blvd.

 And here's the bib:

Who else is here? Most of the top road runners who did not run the Olympic Marathon Trials are here for the Open 15K National Championship. Some of the names I recognize on the Women's side are: Kim Conley,  Marielle Hall, Gwen Jorgensen, Cally McCumber, and Paige Stoner, who, according to her interviewer, is a steeplechaser who  finished 2nd at the USATF Cross Country Championships in San Diego. The main name I recognize on the Men's side is Futsum Zienesellassie, who was also the subject of a pre-race interview. Of course, I have known that name since he emerged on the high school scene in Indianapolis as a freshman at Indianapolis North Central, the HS that both of my kids graduated from just a few years prior. He was all-everything in Indiana and finished 2nd that year at the Footlocker XC Championships, I believe. As a college athlete, he ran for Northern Arizona and now trains with the Naz Elite group. He is focused on the track for this season; that is why he skipped the Marathon trials. He is going for the win tomorrow to go with his 46:55 USATF 10 Mile Championship win last year in the Twin Cities.

What about Masters athletes? I just happened to learn a few days ago that Alice Kassens, who finished 3rd overall at last year's USATF Masters 15K Championship in Tulsa, is entered. She is, no doubt, hoping to go home with some Masters prize money jingling in her pocket. If she can crack the top 10 overall, a very tall order, she could go home with some Open cash as well.

What about my age division, 70-74? Even though this is my last year in that division, I should do well. My training has gone well and I ran very well a month ago in the Pensacola Double Bridge Run, also a 15K. I won my age division in 1:11:16.

Training has continued to go well in the interim so I am hoping to improve slightly on that effort despite the higher bridge in Jacksonville.The only other folks I know about are the two top runners from last year, who are returning. One was 69 years old so this will be his first year in 70-74. But unless he is coming back from injury or cannot run for some reason, Page Ramezani is likely out of reach for me. He won the 65-69 division last year in 1:05:24. The other challenger who returns is Robert McConnell, who set the 71 year old record of 1:07:43 in 2018. Last year he won a close race in 1:09:59. If he runs a similar time this year, I should be competitive.

What are my goals for the race? First, as always, to run hard and well, finish the race, and emerge without injury. Second, I would like to improve on my Double Bridge time, so run faster than 1:11:16. If I break 1:11:00, then my age grading score would be above 82, another step on the way back up to 85%. It would be really nice to beat my Gate River Run time from 2015, 1:10:34; that should be within my reach. If I could break 1:10, that would be a dream. I would also like to finish on the 70-74 podium. Apart from Ramezani and McConnell, no other runners in the last two years in the age division have run as fast I am capable of running. Of course it is possible there will be someone new. If not, all I have to do is to deliver on potential. Easier said than done, of course, but that's what goals are for. It would be nice if I could go for the single age record for 74-year olds. That would take a major improvement though. My pal, Hendrick, holds that one, 1:07:17. If I can stay healthy over the next year, I can go for his single age record for 75 next year. All I would need to do is run 1:09:45. He sets the bar high!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Top Masters Athletes in the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta

February 28, 2020. The 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials are this coming Saturday in Atlanta GA. Tons has been and will be written about this race, but the focus here will be on  the Masters athletes who have qualified and are listed in the Status of Entries.

It is safe to say that, other than Roberta 'Bobbi' Groner, 
Roberta Groner celebrating her 6th place Overall and first American Marathon finish at the 2019 World Championships in Doha [Photo Credit: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images via]

Abdi Abdirahman and Bernard 'Kip' Lagat, few of the other folks I will mention are getting much attention from the national media.
Bernard Lagat broke Meb Keflezighi's American Masters Marathon Record on his second attempt at the distance, running an Olympic Trials Qualifying Time of 2:12:10 [Photo Credit: Gold Coast Marathon via]

From a scan of the Status of Entries it appears that only two other male athletes are participating in the trials,  Eric Loeffler, and Alex Taylor. There are over 30 Masters athletes on the Women's side.

Another element is the priority the athlete, in conversation with Coach, assigns to the race. For the top runners, clearly making the Olympic team or not makes this the race of the year, even the race of the 4-year Olympiad, for them. Some runners had the qualification standard as their main goal and are just happy to be at the trials and have an awesome experience. Kate Landau, for example, whose qualifying time is 2:31:56, indicated that she is not tapering at all for Atlanta; the Trials will be her 'B' race while Boston is her 'A' race.

Conditions for the Race. Most people know that Atlanta is hilly. The official stats say the course has 1,389 feet of elevation, matched by an equivalent amount of descent. According to the Atlanta Track Club, that's more climb than there is at Boston but, it seems to me, perhaps not as much descent, since Boston has a substantial overall drop and Atlanta's course is an out and back. No doubt hill training, both up and down, has been an integral part of the prep for those who hope to do well. The maps below show the course layout, 3 tours around the main loop followed by 5+ miles of the main loop on the 4th circuit, kicking south then on that 4th loop for the finishing 3+ miles where the race will be decided if it is close through mile 23.
Map Showing Marathon Course for 2020 Olympic Trials in Atlanta []

A 'HeatMap' showing elevation [from:]

The weather forecast is still favorable as far as temperature and precipitation. There was some worry that it could get too warm in Atlanta at the end of February with a noontime start. Last week it was pretty wet in Atlanta. No worries about either of those any more. As of today the forecast calls for about 43 at the start, rising to 47 by the end, and partly cloudy skies. The main worry is a forecast of double-digit winds, 14-15 mph. That will hinder the runners more than help them and, if true, drops the 'feels like' to a 36 to 41 range over the course of the race. They will definitely need to make the right adjustments. If the wind is out of the NW, as forecast, each of the  3 loops will send them out to the north into a headwind for a 2-mile stretch. On the finishing loop, once they make the turn after mile 24, much of the final 2 miles will be into a head- or cross- wind.

Athlete Profiles--Previously Participated in USATF Masters National or WMA Championship
My first focus is on athletes who have already transitioned into Masters Elite status by participating in one of USATF's National Masters Championships or in a World Masters Athletics [WMA] Championship. I focus on the Women first and then move to my predictions for the race, folding the analysis of the four Masters Men into that section.

Here are the nine Masters Women who have participated in USATF Masters National Championships and also qualified and declared for the Trials, in Qualifying Time [QT] order:

Roberta 'Bobbi' Groner. The Masters entrant with the highest recent profile is Groner, who not only qualified for the Marathon at the World Championships in Doha but finished as top American and 6th overall. She ran her 2:29:09 PR in Rotterdam in April 2019; that was her QT, among the top 20 in the race. She is probably the only Masters runners whom pundits would say has a realistic chance at actually qualifying to be on Team USA for the Olympic Marathon. Nonetheless, few are putting her in the top 3. She ran in the USATF Masters 8 Km Championship last year, as part of her run-up to Rotterdam, taking the title by almost 4 minutes in 26:48. Fan-zone says: Post-race indulgence: Champagne.
Roberta Groner finishing off her 2:30:12 at the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon [Photo:]

Note: For profiles of most Olympic Trials marathoners, direct your browser to:

Kate Landau. Landau's QT of 2:31:56 came from the 2018 BOA Chicago Marathon, where she was 1st Masters, 8th overall, and 3rd US woman. A month and a half later, she took 1st in the Masters Women's race at the 2018 USATF Club Cross Country Championships. Relocated from Portland for her career, Landau is now in the Jacksonville Florida area. Landau told me that she and her coach decided to make the Trials her 'B' race; she is not tapering and continues to prep for Boston.
Kate Landau finishing off her 2:31:56 Olympic Trials Qualifier at the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon [Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Marton]
Dawn Grunnagle. Originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Dallas Texas resident nailed her 2:33:14 QT  in Berlin last year. She finished 13th overall and was the 2nd American; it is a top 30 QT for Atlanta. She was a double gold medal winner at the WMA Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland last year. That Championship boasted three non-stadia events, including 10 Km and Half Marathon road races. Grunnagle was the first woman 40 or over across the line in both road races, clocking 34:24 and 1:16:25 respectively. Fan-zone says: Post-Race indulgence: Salty sweet potato fries and pumpkin cheesecake.
Dawn Grunnagle [USA kit] on her way to victory at the 2019 WMA 10K Championship in Torun, Poland

Meriah Earle. Originally from Urbana, IL, the Escondido, CA runner waited, like many others, until last December and got her 2:34:35 QT at the California International Marathon [CIM]. She finished 3rd overall and first Masters among the 72 women who beat the Qualifying Standard in that race. She has followed the Coach's dictum of road runners toughening themselves up with a little Cross Country. Earle finished 6th in the 2018 Masters Club Cross Country Championship on  a frigid December day in Spokane Washington, and won, on a  day more to her liking, the 5 Km USATF Masters Cross Country Championship in San Diego this past October. Fanzone says her favorite sports team is the Atlanta Braves. Too bad the trials are in February! [But maybe a chance for some Atlanta Braves memorabilia anyway?]
Meriah Earle with her trophy and medal for winning the 2019 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championship [Photo courtesy of San Diego Track Club]

Laurie Knowles. The fastest hometown Masters Marathoner to race Saturday in Atlanta, Knowles got her QT, 2:37:52, where I live, at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. It is also the Course record. The top 23 women in that Marathon, not to mention the top 3 women in the Half Marathon, bettered the QT required for Atlanta. A veteran of Olympic Marathon Trials, she also participated in 2008, 2012, and 2016. She led her Atlanta Track Club 40+ team to victory at the 2018 and 2019 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships, winning overall in 17:29 and 17:34. She knows the hills of Atlanta; she runs on them all the time. Fan-zone says: Post-Race indulgence: Margaritas and Mexican food.
Laurie Knowles wins the 2018 USATF Masters National 5 Km Championship at the Atlanta's Finest 5K in Atlanta, GA [Photo Credit: Jason Getz/Getz Images]

Hilary Corno. Corno's QT of 2:42:14 came at the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon where she was the 13th US woman and 2nd masters runner across the line. Perhaps in honor of that,  the Southen California transplant from New Hampshire, specified, in the fan-zone, her post-race indulgence as Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. Along the way, she finished 2nd at the USATF Masters Half Marathon Championship in 2016 in San Diego in 1:19:55 and, most recently, took 2nd at the USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships, also in San Diego.
Hilary Corno headed for a 2:48:49 at the 2016 Boston Marathon; she would run 6 minutes faster in 2017 [Photo Credit: Matthew Muise]

Perry Shoemaker. Originally from Annapolis, MD, the Vienna Virginia resident headed for the Pacific Northwest to get her QT, at the Eugene Marathon in 2:43:33. At 48, the second oldest qualifier, Shoemaker did not start racing and training until she hit 40. The first I heard of her was when, at the age of 43, she won the 2014 USATF 12 Km Masters Championship in Alexandria VA in 44:17. She would repeat her victory the following year. In 2017 she won the USATF Masters 8 Km Championship in 29:10.
Perry Shoemaker headed to victory at the 2017 USATF Masters 8K National Championship at the Shamrock Marathon/Towne Bank 8K in Virginia Beach, VA [Photo courtesy of Race]

Kelly Griffin. Originally from Mars, PA., the North Carolina resident sought and found her QT in the Great Lakes area at Grandma's in Duluth. Griffin joined 44 other women Marathoners in beating the QT that day, finishing 38th in 2:43:34. Like Earle, Griffin ran in a recent XC Championship, Earle got her XC 'cred' on a cold day in Spokane; Griffin did the same this past year in Bethlehem, PA, navigating the muddy Lehigh course to a 6th place finish in the 2019 Club Cross Championships. Fan-zone says her favorite book is Green Eggs and Ham.
Kelly Griffin [Photo Credit:]

Melissa Hardesty. Originally from Schererville, IL, Hardesty runs out of Binghamton NY now and headed due north to get her 2:44:14 QT at the 2019 Scotia Bank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. She was the first Masters athlete across the finish line in the Women's division. Hardesty finished 96th at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. She made her debut at a USATF Masters National Championship when winning the 10K Championship in Dedham last April in 37:06. Like Shoemaker, she did not compete in high school or college, getting her start in road racing at the sage of 30.
Melissa Hardesty punches her ticket to the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials with a 2:42:49 at the 2015 CIM [Photo]

Athlete Profiles--Competitive Open Athletes who are now Masters Athletes in the Women's Field
Now three other Masters Women who have not participated in any USATF Masters Championships but are likely to be in the mix for a top 5 Masters finish. [Note: There is no official Masters contest in the race; it is a selection race.]

 Heather Lieberg. A 2nd grade teacher from Helena MT, Lieberg obtained her 2:34:07 QT at the relatively challenging Medtronic TC Marathon in 2019. Lieberg was 16th at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. Lieberg has just turned 40 and perhaps barely thinks of herself as a Masters athlete yet. I would guess her 2:34:07 at Twin Cities translates to a Grade-adusted pace that would be faster than Grunnagle's 2:33:44 at Berlin.
Heather Lieberg captures the title at the 2019 Austin Marathon in Austin, TX [Photo Credit: Spillman]

Janet Cherobon Bawcom. Bawcom finished 5th at the Olympic Trials in 2012 and matched that in 2016. Her 2016 time of 2:31:14 was less than a minute behind 4th place finisher, Kara Goucher, and a minute and a half ahead of Kellyn Taylor. In 2017 she got her QT for 2020 at the CIM where she clocked 2:35:20 while taking 7th among US women. More recently, she was 2nd American behind Maggie Montoya at the challenging Lilac Bloomsday [12K] race in 41:57 last spring. Later in the year she finished 2nd overall in the Mt. Sneffles Half Marathon in Ouray; considering her marathon times, her 1:22:25 was not fast, but it was at altitude,  mostly over 7,000 ft. A drop of 800 feet offsets the altitude partially, but it is hard to know by how much. Suffice to say that Bawcom will be ready, but not sure if her fitness will match what she brought to the 2012 and 2016 trials. That would be a tremendous accomplishment.
Janet Bawcom in Training for her Third Olympic Trials Event [Photo Credit:]

Dot McMahan. McMahan, from Rochester, Michigan, won the 2019 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in 2:35:30 to punch her ticket to Atlanta. The conditions that day were colder and about as windy as is forecasted for Atlanta. That should work in her favor although the hills perhaps not so much. She has a wealth of Marathon Trials experience. She was 8th in 2008 at Boston, showing she can handle hills, and 9th in 2012 at Houston in 2:32:16. Her 2016 effort at LA led to a 35th place finish.
Dot McMahan wins the 2019 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis, IN. and Qualifies for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials [Photo Credit:]


Predictions for Top Outcomes Among Masters Marathoners.
There are no Masters Championships awarded in this race; it is strictly about qualifying for the Olympic Team. Still, my previews usually contain a 'prediction' about Masters outcomes so why not for this one too. It is just for fun; the Marathon being what it is, we never know what will occur during the race. Who would have guessed that Shalane Flanagan would have problems with the heat in 2016. The wind may be the wildcard on Saturday. If double digit winds do not turn up, the race will likely go to the fastest; if the day turns rough, that adds a lot of uncertainty into the mix. Who will make the best adjustments?

Groner has a real shot at qualifying; that makes her the favorite among Masters too. Grunnagle has a faster QT than Lieberg, but also on a faster course. McMahan and Bawcom both have lots of experience and if the day goes their way, they could be among the top 3 Masters runners. My guess is that the order among Masters athletes will be: Roberta Groner      Heather Lieberg     Dot McMahan

I fold the profile into the prediction so this section is longer for the Men. The main question among the men is Bernard 'Kip' Lagat vs. Abdi Abdirahman. Lagat is older and has less marathon and less road racing experience, than Abdi, but he has more World and Olympic Championship  medals on the track. And he has come on fast in the Marathon, gaining his 2:12:10 QT  at his 2nd attempt at the distance, the 2019 Gold Coast Marathon, which advertises itself as Australia's flattest and fastest Marathon. Abdi's QT is 2:11:34, not much faster but on a tougher course, the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon. Lagat knows the hills of Atlanta, though. He took the win at Peachtree overall in 2018! If the weather is cold and windy, my guess is that slightly favors Abdi, who has much more experience than Lagat at Marathoning in tough conditions, such as at Boston in 2018. Still, Bernard is the 'Amazing Kip', one cannot count him out! 

There are two Masters marathoners who are not celebrities, Eric Loeffler, a financial analyst, and Alexander Taylor, a software engineer. Loeffler and Taylor should be well back from those Abdi and Kip, unless they run into difficulties

Loeffler, a native Minnesotan, currently from Apple Valley MN, headed out west to capture his QT of 2:17:36 at the 2017 CIM. He competed at both the 2012 and 2016 Marathon Trials. Like 67 other athletes in the Men's 2016 field, Loeffler went through the HM in under 1:10 but the heat eventually got to him and he withdrew. In 2012, he finished 77th in 2:25:05. He has envisioned himself as a Masters athlete, at least as far as Cross Country goes. He finished 2nd in the Masters race in the 2018 USATF Club Cross Country Championships in 2018 in Spokane, and took 3rd in the Masters section at the 2019 edition at Lehigh. He is no stranger to adverse conditions.

Taylor started running in graduate school to help manage stress and maintain fitness. He started chasing a Marathon QT in 2010 and finally got it this year. Taylor, out of Lincoln, MA. nailed his QT of 2:17:08 at Grandma's Marathon last June.

I will give Loeffler the edge, based on more high level competition experience. My guess at the order among these 4 Masters athletes is:
Abdi Abdirahman    Bernard Lagat    Eric Loeffler

Pre-Race Interviews with Meriah Earle, Laurie Knowles and Melissa Hardesty

As I had interviewed each of these USATF Masters Champions within the last year, I asked them to provide answers to a 'Baker's Dozen' of additional questions about fitness, prep, hills, etc. For each question answered, I use initials to indicate ME, a response from Meriah Earle, LK for Laurie Knowles, and MH for Melissa Hardesty.
Meriah Earle [#991-left] and Kate Landau [#1041-right] braving the elements at the Masters Championship Race at the 2018 USATF Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA [Photo: Michael Scott]

1. First and foremost, I hope you are healthy now and planning to run in the Trials this coming Saturday. If not, please let me know what went wrong. As you know, Amy Cragg is out because of health, and others who qualified will not be able to run. If you are healthy now, but had some scares or worries along the way, let me know about those and how you were able to overcome them.
ME I have been very fortunate these last few months in staying reasonably healthy. I came down with a cold immediately following CIM and have had a few minor calf issues, but the body feels good!
LK  I am definitely looking forward to toeing the line on Saturday. For the most part, I have been healthy this training cycle, but, as is always the case, there are a few aches and pains that come with training with such intensity. I have definitely made use of regular massage and chiropractic, as well as my Norma tech compression pants and foam roller! 
2. How would you rate your fitness heading into the race? On a scale of 0 to 100%. If less than a hundred, any nuances you would like to share?
ME I would say I’m at about 90% of the fitness I was at before my qualifying race in December. Wish I had a few more weeks to build fitness, but it is what it is and I’m happy with the work I was able to put in during the past 11 weeks.
MH Hmm. It's difficult to know because training for this race has been different than what I've done for prior marathons. The short answer is, I've trained, and I'm ready to run. 
LK My workouts have gone really well this training cycle. I probably only had one workout that I would call a bad workout, so for me, that’s a win for sure. That being said, I’ve definitely had a number of easy days where 8 miles felt like 18.   I know I am fit right now, and I’m hopeful that that translates into a good day at the trials.  
3. If you have run in the Olympic Marathon Trials before, how has that helped you prep for the 2020 Trials?

ME This is my first trials.
MH I ran the trials in 2016. It's a lot of work to get to the trials, and runners always want more (faster, better). I didn't play sports as a kid, and I didn't run a race until I was almost 31. I felt intimidated, and I had to remind myself to take in the experience and enjoy the opportunity to run in such a big event. The 2016 trials were a race for survival, where just being there at the end was an accomplishment. I learned to respect the conditions, be patient, and enjoy being there. 
LK This will be my fourth trials, and I feel like my anxiety levels about the races have gone down significantly each time. I now approach it as a race, not the be-all end-all, and I think this is a much healthier approach to competition. 
4. Are you doing the prep for the Trials the same as you did the prep for your most recent Marathons?

ME My prep was very similar to my last marathon, just condensed.. Ideally I would like about month more of high mileage, but the short time between races made this difficult to do given that I needed to first recover from CIM before starting the trials cycle. 

MH My training has been different--much more focused on effort and training my legs to handle hills than hitting particular paces. I started running in Northwest Indiana (near Chicago), where there are no hills. After moving to North Carolina in 2013, and now Central NY since 2016, I've started running on hills regularly. But most of my marathon pace running has still been on flat ground to simulate race conditions. 

LK My preparation is similar for this marathon as it has been for previous ones, however I have had a lot more company for my workouts during this cycle, which I’ve really enjoyed. It has made the workouts go so much easier, better, and they were more fun.  I have a number of teammates that will be racing with me on Saturday and that has made things so much more enjoyable leading up to the race.
Melissa Hardesty wins the 2019 USATF Masters 10K Championship at the James Joyce Ramble in Dedham, MA [Photo: Michael Scott]
5. Have you done anything special to prep for the hills in Atlanta [1389’ of climbing apparently (and another 1389 of descent)] or have you always included lots of hill work in your training?

ME The biggest difference in this cycle was the hill work. I ran a lot of them and even tried doing my speed days on hilly terrain until my calf started to act up and then I decided it was best to stay flat for speed.
MH For this training cycle, I've done most of my goal pace running on hills. Most of my long runs have been on hilly terrain. 
LK I live in Atlanta so I am always on hills!
6. How many miles per week were you typically doing during the build-up phase of your Trials prep? And/or, if you prefer, how did you phase up to your max?

 ME Tried to average 80+ miles for about 6 weeks and had a couple of weeks 92-94miles. Speed on Tuesday, tempo or hills on Thursday, LR often with pace work on Saturday.
MH I averaged 88 miles per week for the 11 weeks prior to my 2-week taper. The mileage bounced around a bit with some 70 mile weeks and two 100 mile weeks. This was my first time ever running 100 miles in a week, but I only did that for two weeks before dropping back down to the low 90s before the taper. I don't do a big taper. I think I ran 77 miles this past week, and I'll probably run a total of 65-70 miles this week, including the race.
LK I maxed out just under 100 miles a week, and had multiple weeks  in the upper 80s to mid 90s.
7. How many hours per day do you typically commit to training (not just running but all aspects, whether yoga, exercises, weights, drills, etc.) during the heaviest phase? [of if you prefer, a range of hours per day?]

MH  I spent 12 hours per week on running at my peak. I usually do 15-20 min of strength and stability exercises and foam rolling after my morning run. I probably spend 14-15 hours a week at my peak.
LK 2 hours
Laurie Knowles negotiates the final turn on her way to victory at the 2019 USATF Masters 5K Championships at Atlanta's Finest 5K in Atlanta, GA [Photo by Michael Scott]
8. When did you start your taper? How much running do you do during the taper phase? What does your workout plan look like for the 10 days before the race? What are you doing with your ‘extra time’ during the taper? Fun stuff?

ME I start cutting back mileage about 2 weeks out but I still keep two hard days a week. I think it’s important to keep intensity up and I don’t like a long taper. I still ran 60+ miles last week. The real taper probably started Saturday, 7 days before the race.
Ha,ha! I laughed when you asked what I’m doing with my “free time” during taper week! This week has been nuts with high school track starting up (I’m a track coach) and all the last minute things to get together before my flight tomorrow. Plus, there have been send off parties and I even got to do a news segment for NBC on Saturday! Can’t wait to see how crazy things are in Atlanta! 
MH I have two small workouts in the 10 days prior to the race. I did a short long run yesterday with a bit of effort (2 X 10 min and 1 X 5 min at goal marathon effort), and I'll probably do a light fartlek run on Tuesday.  I usually work more (at my actual job) during the taper to take my mind off of running. I also tend to sublimate my race anxiety by getting preoccupied with minor political or social grievances. Just a pattern I've noticed with myself.
LK We have been tapering for about two weeks before the race. During my taper, I did six by a mile at half marathon pace about 10 to 12 days out from the trials, a 11 mile long run with 8 miles around marathon pace, two by a mile at marathon pace six days out and 4 x 800  four days out.  
During the taper I also organized and held a birthday party for 12 five-year-old girls! At my house!! (Yes, I’m crazy!)
9. Are you doing anything different in terms of what goes into your ‘liquids’ bottles for the race? What do you typically use? You get 6 bottles, approximately one every 4 miles. Do you already know exactly where to grab your liquid? Will your table be color coded? And your bottle? Have you gotten detailed information already about those plans?

ME I use Maurten 320 in my bottles. They’ll all have the same thing at trials.  I did some simulation runs in training to practice grabbing and drinking at race pace. It’s actually really hard and I missed like 4 of my bottles in my last race! The race is really organized about it though. They sent out a chart with how the bottles will be set up. I’m on table 5 slot 3. 
MH I'm using on-course fluids to avoid the chaos of bottle service in such a big field. The trials are offering powerade and water bottles on the course. I think they were trying to cut down on the number of people getting bottle service. There was an issue at the trials in LA, where people who didn't sign up for bottle service didn't get anything except for water. Atlanta Track Club seems to be on the ball with planning, so I think I should be okay with fluids. 
LK A mix of Maurten and Tailwind . The track club sent us information about where our bottle placements will be a week before the race. We have very clearly labeled diagrams, with which table our bottles will be at, as well as what position on the table. It’s such a complex operation, but they’ve been doing an amazing job and I’m so impressed with how organized everything seems so far 
10. What is your plan for the last few days before the race? Will you arrive early in Atlanta or wait until just a couple of days before? Do you do anything that helps you to stay calm and focused for the race?

ME I get to Atlanta tomorrow night. I plan to scout out the course Wednesday to help visualize how to run the hills. I think knowing where a hill will end and having ran up it before helps take some of the fear out of running up it in a race. Part of what helps me stay calm and focused before the race is remembering just how grateful I am to be there and how much I love this sport. Nerves are just part of it. I would be nervous if I wasn’t nervous haha! In my evening prayer I always ask for the courage and strength to keep fighting in the race when things get hard. I think one of the hardest things to do as a runner is keep running hard when all is lost. Many times I’ve turned what I thought was a terrible race into PRs and podium finishes simply by not giving up on a “bad race”. **To be fair, I don’t think God really cares who goes to Tokyo, but I take solace in knowing He is with me and will help me through whatever challenges lie ahead.
MH I'm going to Atlanta on Thursday. I'll try to do some work, maybe read a book, and watch TV.
LK I live here and have a bunch of family coming in for the race, so my race week is definitely a little different than that of people flying in for the race I think. That being said, I will check into the hotel the Thursday before the race and stay there to focus a little better. 
11. As of now, the forecast looks surprisingly good, temps in the lower 40’s with partly cloudy skies. The wind could be a bit troublesome, at 11 mph out of the WNW. Apart from tucking in whenever feasible, does that wind alter your strategy in any way?
ME Oh the weather!! I HATE cold weather 😄😄! And by cold I mean anything under 60! This California girl loves running midday in 70 degree weather. I’m still traumatized from BOSTON 2018 when I ended up in the hospital with hypothermia. I’ll try to dress warm enough for the chilly 45 degree weather they’re predicting and hope my Raynaud's doesn’t kick in. As for drafting, have you seen how tiny distance runners are? I’m 5’8” so I sometimes become the wind breaker for everyone else. Ultimately the weather is something I can’t control so I just try to be well equipped to handle whatever the day may bring.

MH  The great thing about a big field is the opportunity to draft off of other runners. That's my plan if it gets windy. In general, it's important to get the effort right because I can't control the conditions. 

LK The wind makes a hard course even harder. If it does indeed end up being a windy day, I will be even more conservative on lap one. And for sure make every effort to stay with a group.
12. Do you feel you are prepping any different for this race as a masters athlete?

MH Training as a masters runner hasn't been much different for me because I didn't start running until well into adulthood, past the age when people feel invincible. I try to be diligent about strengthening exercises, massage/foam rolling, and recovery. 

LK I definitely take my easy days easier and add extra recovery days in.

13. What are your goals for the race?

ME Goals for this race- to run strong start to finish. Keep fighting when the hills seem too much and represent San Diego to the best of my ability. Top 50 would be nice, but it’s really all about the journey!

MH My goal on race day is to be patient and run the best race I can. I'm excited and humbled to run the trials as a masters athlete.

LK I would like to beat my seed, run a great third lap, and have fun.

Additional Masters Qualifiers [22] in the Women's Field (in QT order)

Gina Rouse. The Knoxville Tennessee athlete got her QT: 2:38:44 at the 2019 BOA Chicago Marathon.

Desiree Berry. Second in the Ironman Kona World Championships in 2006, her QT of 2:39:22 occurred at the 2018 California International Marathon [CIM]. She ran some local races the following spring at a comparatively slow pace. By December she ran 48:28 to finish 3rd at a local 12K, and then this year prepped in mid-January by finishing 2nd at the Redmond, WA Rain Run HM in 1:22:48.

Jenelle Deatherage. Originally from Peoria IL, the Madison Wisconsin Sports Medicine Physical Therapist went to Grandma's Marathon in 2019 and came back with a 2:41:17 QT. This will be her 5th Olympic Trials experience. She qualified in the 1500 meters in 2000, 2004, and 2008, and in the Marathon in 2016.

Bryanne Lauck. Originally from Carol Stream, IL., the Phoenix AZ 3rd grade teacher got her 2:41:20 QT at the 2018 CIM.

Allison Krausen. From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, now running out of Edwards, Colorado, Krausen also got her QT of 2:41:42 at the CIM, but in 2019. It was her first race as a Masters athlete. Co-owner and 'chief cook and bottle washer' for a family business in architecture and design, she missed the 2016 QT by just 25 sections so this counted as redemption.

Kris Lawrence. Hailing from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, but now resident in Guam, Lawrence punched her ticket with a 2:42:46 QT at the 2017 CIM.

Laura Kaulen. This Hilliard, Ohio special ed teacher nailed her 2:42:48 QT at the 2019 BOA Chicago Marathon.

Kimberly Hicks. A perinatal educator from Vista, California, Hicks took advantage of the 2018 CIM, a fast marathon in her home state, to collect her QT of 2:42:48.

Ann Alyanak. From Bellbrook, Ohio, Alyanak stayed in the Midwest, getting her 2:43:00 QT at the 2018 Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon.

Kate DeProsperis.  An Investment Banking Director from Western Springs, Illinois, DeProsperis got her QT of 2:43:11 early by running the 2017 CIM. She also competed in the 2012 Trials. Getting to the starting line will be a huge accomplishment. She lost 15 weeks of prep to a calf tear and acute tendonitis.

Angela Moll. Originally from Michigan, Moll is a physician at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego CA.  She collected her QT of 2:43:17 at the 2019 CIM.

Megan Foster. A resident of New York City and an Artist and Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, Foster obtained her QT of 2:43:44 at the 2017 BOA Chicago Marathon.

Ruth Brennan Morey. A native Minnesotan, residing in Rochester, Morey finished 34th in the 2000 Olympic Marathon Trials and nailed her 2:43:49 QT at the 2019 CIM this past December.

Sharon Thompson. Originally from Grand Blanc, Michigan, Thompson owns a premium indoor cycling facility in Franklin, TN. She competed at the 2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, and has now qualified for four Olympic Trials. She qualified in the 10,000 meters in 2004 and 2008, and at the Marathon in 2012 and again in 2020. Her QT of 2:43:54 came at the 2018 Michelob Ultra Madison Marathon in Wisconsin.

Katherine Newberry. Originally from Burke, Virginia, this Wellesley, Massachusetts resident is a veteran Olympic Trials competitor. In 2004 she qualified in both the 5,000 and 10,000meter runs. In 2012 and 2016 it has been the Marathon. Her 2:43:55 QT came at the 2019 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

Karen Dunn. Dunn owns a running coch and personal training service in Trappe, Pennsylvania. The 2019 BOA Chicago Marathon provided the venue for her 2:43:59 QT.

Molly Friel. Originally from Great Falls, Montana, this resident of Fresno, California is th eoldest Marathon Trials Qualifier this year, at 52. Friel rates qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials at the age of 50 as her greatest accomplishment. She also competed in the Marathon Trials in 2004 and 2016. Her 2:44:00 QT came in the 2017 CIM.

Amy Robillard. A swim coach of club and high school teams in Cincinnati, Ohio, Robillard only had to drive two hours to get to the site of her QT Marathon, the 2019 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. She clocked 2:44:00! She also qualified for the 2016 Trials.

Kasie Enman. A resident of Huntington, VT, Enman finished 11th at the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials, and three years later won the 2011 World Mountain Running Championships. She got her 2:44:09 QT at the 2017 BOA Chicago Marathon.

Merilee Blackham. A high school Cross Country and Track Coach in Ogden, Utah, Blackham competed in the 2016 Trials, finishing 104th. Her 2020 QT of 2:44:38 came at the 2018 BOA Chicago Marathon.

Crystal Harris. A programmer/analyst for Boeing from Edwardsville, Illinois, Harris was out of action from ages 34-39 with stress fractures and other injuries. Her PR's have all come at age 40 and above. She clocked her 2:44:49 QT at the 2018 CIM.

Raquel Rios-Reed. Co-owner of First Gear Running Co. in Wichita, Kansas, Rios-Reed has qualified twice before. In 2012 she ran with a stress fracture in her big toe; in 2016 she ran with a broken foot. The goal this year is to get to the starting line healthy! She qualified at the 2017 CIM in 2:44:49.
For profiles of most Olympic Trials runners, direct your browser to:

Check back next week for a recap of the Masters Athlete performances in the Olympic MarathonTrials.