Colorado runners reach for the stars at Olympic Marathon Trials in LA

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With over 50 qualifiers in Colorado, many from the Boulder area, there was much excitement around the Olympic Marathon Trials held in Los Angeles this past weekend. While many Boulderites put in early bids in hot conditions for the coveted top 3 spots to on the Road to Rio, there were three Top 10 performances from Boulder area runners starting with Kara Goucher just missing the team with a strong 4th place finish.

Sean Quigley of the Boulder Track Club was 9th in the men’s field. Alia Gray of Roots Running Project was 10th in the women’s field and ran a PR of 2:35:47. Other notable top performances were Adriana Nelson Co-Founder of Roll Recovery in 12th, Boulder Track Club’s Wendy Thomas of Windsor took 17th, Whitney Bevins of Roots Running Project 31st and BRC/adidas’ Brianne Nelson was 35th. For the men, Jeffrey Eggleston was 13th overall while Boulder Track Club’s Jonathan Grey was 36th in his marathon debut which also happened to be his birthday.

Heat and injuries proved to be too much for many of the competitors, even in the what may have been the biggest race of their life.

For the Colorado men, there were 23 out of the total of 166 to start the race and 17 out of 105 to finish. For the women, 21 of the 198 starters were from Colorado and 16 of the 149 who finished. Patrick Rizzo penned a poignant blog post about the lack of support from the LOC for athletes after the race with little to offer post race for food and much needed hydration.

Notable Colorado Runners not at the Trials

Andy Wacker chose to compete at the US XC Championships in Bend, OR on Feb 7. Aaron Braun had to scratch because of a last minute injury and the 2015 New York Marathon’s First American Laura Thweatt opted to run the 3k at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston to better prepare for running the Olympic Track Trials in July.

LA2016 Olympic Marathon Trials

More photos of Coloradoans at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trails

Other notables:

While Meb Keflezighi was the oldest male to make and Olympic Team (40), Four-time Olympian Colleen De Reuck, at 51, was the oldest to have ever competed at the trials.

Boulder athlete and training partner to De Reuck, Joanna Zeiger in her 7th Olympic Trials event had the distinct honor of being the last woman to finish. Zeiger was featured in a Runners World piece because of the honor.

“This is the end of a long journey,” said Zeiger, 45, from Boulder, Colorado, gingerly lowering herself into a chair provided by a race volunteer, having absorbed the race distance the way a boxer endures a 15-round beating. “I’ve had some major injuries, so just finishing was the end goal here.”

“No matter how long it took,” she says, “I was determined to get to that finish line.”

She also just happened to be passing the finish line on her last lap as Amy Cragg was finishing her big win, and took the time to congratulate Cragg as she passed.

Golden’s Brian Birdsong proposes to his girlfriend Brittni Hutton after the race. I’m not sure how he was able to get back up after running that race!

We will follow up more this week with personal Boulder runner stories from the Olympic Marathon Trials.

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