Boulder’s Joanna Zeiger will be competing in her seventh Olympic Trials event this February in at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles. Zeiger ran 2:43:59 in the 2014 Shamrock Marathon, which was 59 seconds off the 2:43:00 standard at the time. In December, the U.S. Olympic committee eased the standard to 2:45 to meet with IAAF standards, which put her well below the new mark. Along with Zeiger 2 other athletes from the area, Shawna Han and Ben Zywicki qualified under the new mark.
Zeiger, now 45, has qualified for the Olympic Trials in swimming, Triathlon and the marathon.
Women’s Running: This is the seventh Olympic Trials in three sports you will be racing at. Which trial has been the most meaningful to you and why is it so important to you to represent your country?
Joanna Zeiger: When I qualified for the Olympics at the 2000 Triathlon Olympic trials, the day was extraordinarily special and completely a surprise. I look upon that day with fondness and rank it as one of my top-three sporting moments, along with winning the 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Championships and the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where I placed fourth.
Each trials has represented something memorable, whether it was in 1988 when I was only 18 and competing in my first trials or qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon as my answer to retiring from triathlon due to injuries from a bike accident I had in 2009.
Qualifying for the Olympic Trials has represented a carrot in so many different circumstances. As a youngster, I learned the value of goal setting, belief in yourself and hard work. Over the years, my motivation has changed from Olympic hopeful (in 2000-2008) to learning the ability of the human body to withstand the rigors of high-level training in the face of aging. The notion of achieving the time standard in the marathon in 2012 and 2016 gave me hope and a desire to defy the odds and get healthy in the face of chronic pain and injury.
Representing the U.S. in international competition is an honor and a privilege. I feel fortunate that I was able to do so in Olympic and World Championship situations. I have never felt more pride for my country that when I carried the American flag across the finish line in Sydney.