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

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