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Fast Women: A good weekend for Trials qualifying
The inaugural Bakline McKirdy Micro Marathon is a success.
Issue 261, sponsored by New Balance
Calli Thackery leads a deep field in her marathon debut
The women’s race at Saturday’s Bakline McKirdy Micro Marathon produced 10 new U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers, more than any other race so far this year. While the nine-loop race lacked the hype and crowd support of the Chicago or Berlin Marathon, it included some amenities that the World Marathon Majors do not. Because of the small field and easier logistics, the race could start earlier in the day, when the weather was likely to be better. Everyone in the race had bottle service—a convenience most of the field would not be able to get at bigger races—which allowed them to use their fuel of choice along the way. The pace groups were tailored to meet the needs of the athletes in the field, and the course, at New York’s Rockland Lake State Park, was designed for speed.
There was some risk in choosing a first-time event over the more established races, but things can go wrong no matter which race one chooses. Just ask Makenna Myler, who was supposed to run the Twin Cities Marathon two weeks earlier, until it was canceled at the last minute due to heat. But Saturday’s race turned out to be a great success. It was more a mass time trial than a battle among competitors, but it met all of the necessary rules of competition and resulted in some excellent times.
Great Britain’s Calli Thackery, 30, led the way with a fantastic performance, running 2:22:17 in her debut at the distance (2:22:11 chip time). She got progressively faster throughout the race and her time ties her with Charlotte Purdue for second on Great Britain’s all-time list, behind only Paula Radcliffe. Thackery announced earlier in the week that she had signed with Nike, and hopefully her performance earned her a nice bonus.
Thackery, a University of New Mexico graduate, has been on a roll recently. She won London’s Big Half in September and finished seventh in the half marathon at the World Athletics Road Running Championships two weeks earlier, with a PR of 1:08:56. And on Saturday, she ran well under the Olympic qualifying standard of 2:26:50.
Savannah Berry finished second in 2:29:13, taking 4:29 off the PR she set at the California International Marathon last December. Berry, 27, was already qualified for the Trials, but she dipped under 2:29:30 for the first time, which means that if she finishes in the top three at the Trials, she’ll make the Olympic team. (Unless the conditions at February’s Trials are atrocious, it’s highly likely that it’s going to take 2:29:30 or faster to finish in the top three anyway. But it’s nice to go into the Trials with the time, just in case.)
And Myler, who adjusted her plans after the Twin Cities cancellation, took third in 2:31:59, a personal best by 8:46. Myler was the first new Trials qualifier in the field. She had her second child in March, so she hasn’t had many opportunities to run a qualifying time since the window opened at the beginning of last year.
Behind them came a wave of additional Trials qualifiers, who ran under the 2:37:00 standard. The next three finishers were all recent college graduates debuting in the marathon. Paced by her brother, former University of Michigan runner Anna West (aka Anna Benedettini) finished fourth in 2:35:12. Zoe Baker, who just finished her collegiate eligibility at the Colorado School of Mines, took fifth in 2:36:01. And Monica Hebner, formerly of the University of Texas, finished sixth in 2:36:04.
Kelli Smith, who had already qualified for the Trials, finished seventh in 2:36:34. Brittney Hall, who was a standout runner for Western Michigan, was the next new Trials qualifier, taking eighth in 2:36:39. Alyssa Bloomquist, a mother of two, PRed by nearly five minutes, running 2:36:41 to take ninth. Bloomquist also qualified for the 2020 Trials (Runner’s World), and her big jump here earned her a return trip.
Isabel Hebner, another Texas grad and first-time marathoner, finished 10th in 2:36:38. She’ll join her twin sister, Monica, at the Trials in Orlando. Kaitlin Donner, another mother of two, finished 11th in 2:36:40. Donner, 34, ran in college and was a professional triathlete, but Saturday’s race was her first marathon.
Natalie Callister finished 12th in a personal best of 2:36:46. The mother of four will join her sister-in-law, Sarah Sellers, at the Trials. And the final Trials qualifier of the day was Flannery Davis Love, who finished 13th in 2:36:52. Coached by Nell Rojas, Davis Love, a former college soccer player, PRed by an incredible 11 minutes, 30 seconds. None of the final qualifiers cut it as close as it seems; I’m reporting their gun/official times here, but all of the women in the field had faster chip times. Davis Love finished with 17 seconds to spare.
Like any marathon, a good number of the runners in the field fell short of their goals, but the inaugural edition of this race was a tremendous success, and it will be interesting to see if it inspires similar events in the future. It seems likely, especially if women in the 2:29 and up range continue to have a hard time getting a bib and/or bottle service for some of the bigger races. Melissa Lodge won the accompanying 10K in 33:53. (Results)
Thanks to New Balance for supporting Fast Women in October
I’m tremendously thankful for New Balance’s six-month commitment to supporting Fast Women this year. Without their support, this newsletter would not be possible.
Last week, New Balance released v13 of the Fresh Foam X 1080, one of their most popular trainers, which you can check out here or at your local run specialty store. (If you’re a big fan of v12, you can get them on sale at the same link.) Believe in the Run gave the updated shoe a favorable review.
I’ll be giving out one final pair of New Balance shoes this month. To enter the drawing, make sure you are subscribed to this newsletter.
Other News and Links
Molly Seidel recapped her Chicago Marathon performance on her YouTube channel.
Last month, 84 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers signed a letter to USATF CEO Max Siegel, expressing concern about the race’s noon start time (Runner’s World). The athletes met with Siegel on Thursday to discuss the matter.
I love an unconventional running story. Virginia Commonwealth University’s Lauren Tunnell didn’t run during high school, but during the pandemic, she started going to Orange Theory with her mother, and she was recently named the Atlantic 10 Conference’s performer of the week.
Harvard’s Maia Ramsden, the reigning NCAA 1500m champion, signed an NIL deal with On.
Running records are going down everywhere. Great Britain’s Lucy Charles-Barclay won the Ironman World Championship in a course record of 8:24:31. And runner-up Anne Haug, 40, of Germany, ran the fastest women’s marathon in Ironman Kona history, with a 2:48:23 split.
Gotytom Gebreslase, Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, and Yalemzerf Yehualaw all scratched from the New York City Marathon.
The story of Sarah Bohan rescuing a kitten during the Chicago Marathon blew up a little more than I was expecting. It was fitting, though, because Bohan was running the race for PAWS Chicago, a no-kill shelter. PEOPLE reports that the kitten, now named Casper, is doing well with his new family. Bohan walked a mile of the race while looking for someone to take the kitten in, posed for some photos, helped a struggling runner near the finish, and still finished in 3:31.
NAZ Elite’s new coach is Jack Mullaney, who has spent the past six years assistant coaching at the University of Portland. I would have liked to see interim head coach Jenna Wriden get the job, but she’ll stay on as assistant coach. (Runner’s World)
Friday’s Nuttycombe Invitational, hosted by the University of Wisconsin, was one of the first big tests of the 2023 cross country season, and Florida’s Parker Valby and the Northern Arizona University women came out on top. Valby ran away from NC State’s Katelyn Tuohy in the second half of the race and won by 12 seconds in tough conditions, running a meet record 19:17.2 for 6K. This is a good pre-race article from LetsRun about Tuohy and NC State and how the cross country season fits into the bigger picture for her. NC State was ranked number one in the country heading into this meet, but number-two ranked NAU, led by Elise Stearns in fourth, beat them soundly, 52–95. NC State was missing a couple of its potential top five runners, but NAU made it clear they’re going to be tough to beat. (Results | Good article about the rise of the NAU women’s cross country team)
BYU’s Carmen Alder won the Pre-National Invitational, hosted by the University of Virginia, running 19:36.2 for 6K. She led her team, ranked sixth in the country, to a dominant 32–90 win over Arkansas. (Results)
Meseret Belete won the Amsterdam Marathon in 2:18:21. Katja Goldring was the top U.S. finisher, taking 14th in 2:32:03, and Jessica Watychowicz was 17th in 2:36:05. (Results)
Yuka Suzuki won Japan’s Olympic Trials, held in heavy rain, in 2:24:09. Runner-up Mao Ichiyama also earned a spot on Japan’s Olympic team, running 2:24:43. Third-place finisher Ai Hosoda (2:24:50) earned a provisional spot, but other athletes will have the opportunity to knock her off the team by running fast times. Talk about a nerve-wracking process. (Recap and results)
Buze Diriba won a four-way sprint finish at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, crossing the line in 2:23:11. The top four women, all from Ethiopia, were separated by less than seven seconds. After dropping out of the New York City Marathon last year, Emily Durgin completed her first marathon, taking fifth in 2:26:46 and narrowly dipping under the Olympic standard. Molly Grabill finished sixth in 2:29:45, her fastest time on a record-eligible course, and Molly Bookmyer finished eighth in 2:30:37, a 62-second personal best. (Results)
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana won the Delhi Half Marathon by 30 seconds, in 1:07:58.
Australia’s Genevieve Gregson won the Melbourne Half Marathon in 1:10:08. Olga Firsova, also of Australia, won the 10K in 32:53. (Results)
Ethiopia’s Damaris Areba won the Columbus Marathon in 2:34:38. Second-place finisher Shannon Smith ran 2:36:40 and became the third member of her family to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials. Kenya’s Sarah Naibei won the accompanying half marathon in 1:11:20. (Results)
Annie Heffernan won the Baystate Marathon and finished third overall in 2:34:33, which qualifies for the Olympic Trials as well. It was a great weekend for Trials qualifying; the number of qualified women is up to at least 151 now. (Results)
Kenya’s Leah Rotich won the Des Moines Marathon in 2:42:41.
Jenna Gigliotti won the Hartford Marathon in 2:44:08 and Regan Rome won the half marathon in 1:13:49. (Results)
Kate Landau, 47, won the Detroit Free Press Marathon in 2:50:06, and Andrea Pomaranski, 41, won the half marathon in 1:15:40. (Results)
Susan Ejore won the Baltimore Running Festival 5K in 15:56, and her Mission Run Baltimore Distance teammate Lauren Ryan won the 10K in 33:32. (Results)
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I’m sending out a more abbreviated than usual newsletter this week. If you’re looking for podcast recommendations, my favorite one of the week was NC State coach Laurie Henes on Laughter Permitted. (Thank you, Elizabeth, for making sure I didn’t miss this one!) I also recommend Des Linden talking about her Chicago Marathon run on Nobody Asked Us and Emily Sisson talking about hers on the Citius Mag podcast.
If you’ve already tried those, I also enjoyed Erika Kemp on The Drop, Ali Feller talking about her Chicago Marathon weekend on Ali on the Run, and Jeralyn Poe discussing her run at the USATF 10K Championships, on Women’s Running Stories.
Thanks to New Balance for supporting Fast Women and I hope you all have the best week possible.