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Austin’s Olympic Marathon Trial Qualifiers Get Ready for LA

The US Olympic Marathon Trials will be held February 13th in Los Angeles and Austin will be well-represented with seven Trials qualifiers. None of the Austinites are expected to contend for one of top three spots for men and women who will go to the Olympics in Rio in August, but for five of the seven, just getting to the Trials has been a victory in itself. The only two with Trials experience – Allison Macsas and Scott MacPherson – are also the healthiest and have the best chance of being competitive in Los Angeles.

For the first time, the Olympic Marathon Trials will be televised live. NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will carry the telecast. Coverage begins at noon (Austin time).

Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan won the ’12 Olympic Marathon Trials, held in Houston. Both are expected to compete in Los Angeles and are favored to make the Olympic team again. If Keflezighi finishes in the top three in LA, it will be his fourth Olympic team and, at the age of 40, he could contend for his second Olympic marathon medal. Keflezighi is something of a hometown favorite as he graduated from UCLA and grew up in San Diego after his family immigrated from Eritrea. Flanagan, the daughter of two national-class runners, has made two previous teams and won the bronze medal in the ’08 Olympic 10,000. She won the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in December in her final tune up for the Trials.

The last American man to win an Olympic marathon was Frank Shorter in 1972. Joan Samuelson won the first Olympic marathon for women in Los Angeles in 1984.

Nora Colligan

Age: 33
Hometown: Rochester, Michigan
College: Northwestern
Profession: Engineer (Samsung)
Marathon PR: 2:44:21 (2015 Cal International)
Trials qualifier: Same
Trials goal: To just enjoy the experience while I’m there.

Expectations: Since I’ve been dealing with several nagging injuries, I don’t really have any major expectations. I’m just excited to achieve my long-term goal of qualifying for the Trials and run in the same race that will qualify three women for the Olympics.


Allison Macsas

macsasAge: 31
Hometown: Denton
College: University of Tampa
Profession: Co-founder and guide with Rogue Expeditions; graphic designer with Rogue Running
Marathon PR: 2:39:58 (2014 Twin Cities)
Trials qualifier: Same
Trials goal: I’d like to run a strong, smart race and PR at 2:37-2:38.

Expectations: I’m 110 percent healthy and feel like I’m in PR shape, but the weather will be a big factor. I don’t handle heat very well so if it’s warm, there’s a good chance it will be a tough day for me. Regardless of the conditions, I’ll run the smartest race I can.

Excitement factor: I’m very excited about the energy level in LA. The crowd support at the ’12 Trials in Houston was indescribable with so many Austin-area runners who were there cheering. I really like the loop format of the Trials because it’s easier to break the distance down into manageable repetitions and because it means there are no dead zones without spectators.


Allison Mendez

Age: 27mendez
Hometown: Rockwall
College: University of Texas
Profession: Medical assistant/receptionist at Sports Performance International (for orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ted Spears).
Marathon PR: 2:50:11 (’15 Chicago, marathon debut)
Trials qualifier: 1:13:47 (’13 Philadelphia Half Marathon)
Trials goal: My health is great and I want to nail my nutrition, stay relaxed and run my race with confidence.

Expectations: I feel a PR brewing. I’ve been training at faster paces than I was for Chicago so a 10-minute PR is definitely reasonable. But the marathon is still unfamiliar territory for me. I’m glad I ran Chicago because I now know how the marathon can change you. You put yourself in the highest level of pain that your body can endure. It’s traumatizing, but it shows you how much guts you have.

Excitement factor: I’ve always wanted to race in the Olympic Trials so I’m definitely excited for my family, fiance and my teammates. Then, afterward, looking forward to laying on the beach.


David Fuentes

Age: 29fuentes
Hometown: Boerne
College: St. Edward’s
Profession: Specialty sales tech representative for Implus
Marathon PR: 2:27 ( ’15 USATF Champs in Los Angeles)
Trials qualifier: 1:04:36 (’14 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, Duluth)
Trials goal: I have not been healthy as I’ve been dealing with hip flexor tightness. I have been doing aqua jogging and getting a lot of massage to keep it at bay so my goal in Los Angles is to compete and run smart.

Expectations: If I can get to the starting line with a normal stride, I can compete and finish well. But the marathon is too long and too hard of a race to really put a time goal down. Hurt or not, I just want to know that I did everything I could on that day to run well.

Excitement factor: I’m most excited to see where my body is going to break. After that, I’ll be ready for the beer afterward.


Scott MacPherson

Age: 28macpherson
Hometown: Plano, currently living in Columbia, Missouri via Austin
College: Arkansas
Profession: Runner
Marathon PR: 2:16:02 (’13 USATF Marathon Champs)
Trials qualifier: Same
Trials goal: Top 3. It’s the Olympic Trials and only three go to the Olympics. I won’t race any other way.

Expectations: I’m healthy as I can be and really looking forward to racing the marathon. Up until now, all my marathons have been time driven. This time I want to put my nose into the middle of it, compete and see what I’m made of.


Will Nation

Age: 23nation
Hometown: Spring
College: Texas
Profession: Software developer for Pruvan in Round Rock
Marathon PR: 2:30:18 (’15 New York City Marathon, debut)
Trials qualifier: 1:04:56 (’15 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth)
Trials goal: I want to compete and try to place as high as possible.

Expectations: I’ve been hampered with glute/hip issues since December so my training has been fairly limited. It’s difficult to project what I’m capable of, but 2:18 is a reasonable goal. I just want to get to LA as healthy as possible and if I am, I think a 2:16-2:17 is possible.

Excitement factor: To have the opportunity to run in the Olympic Trials against the best marathoners in the country is an experience that will help me in 2020 and beyond.


Rory Tunningley

Age: 26rory
Hometown: Lockhart
College: Texas
Profession: Director of retail operations for RunLab in Lakeway
Marathon PR: Olympic Trials will be his first.
Trials qualifier: 1:04:51 (’15 Philadelphia Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon)
Trials goal: I’m coming back from a hip injury which has forced me to take time off. Because of that injury, my goals have changed to just being able to compete and finish the race well. My plan is to run a negative split to avoid the wall in the last six miles and hopefully run between 2:18 and 2:20.

Expectations: My goal since college has been to get to the Trials and I’m going to enjoy the experience as much as I can.


Texas Notables

  • Andrea Duke (San Antonio)
    • Qualifying Time: 2:41:05 – Chicago 2014
  • Rebecca Wade (Houston)
    • Qualifying Time: 2:30:41 – Sacramento/CIM 2013
  • Kiya Dadena (Houston)
    • Qualifying Time: 1:04:16 – Philadelphia Half 2015

In total, there are 12 women and 7 men entered listing Texas as their home state. View the full field at usatf.org.

2017-10-19T00:32:59-05:00 Categories: Local Runners - Elites, Race Coverage|Tags: , , , , , , |