Dec. 2, 2014
For immediate release

Eugene runner seeks standard after breaking foot at mile 25

Brett Ely had her fourth U.S. Olympic Trials berth all but in the bag last December. And then she broke her left foot along L Street near mile 25 of the California International Marathon.

The Eugene, Ore. runner returns this year to settle some unfinished business, punch her 2016 Trials ticket and thank some kind-hearted spectators who offered comfort after her injury.

Ely recalls one couple giving her a chair and a blanket and making her hot tea. Another man went into his house nearby, brought out his son’s old crutches and gave them to her.

So in her perfect world, she’ll earn her fourth Olympic Trials bid in Sunday’s California International Marathon, then head back down L Street to mile 25 to acknowledge some Sacramento kindness.

“I’m hoping I feel good enough after I finish to go back and thank them,” she said. “I couldn’t even put weight on it when it happened. It was one of those moments when humanity came through when I needed it.

“I really wanted to qualify for my fourth Olympic Trials.”

She still does. Many other top runners will also take aim at earning an Olympic Trials berth in the 26.2-mile journey from near Folsom Dam to the steps of the state Capitol.

The 32nd annual CIM begins at 7 a.m.

Runners need to match or beat the ‘B’ qualifying standard – 2:18:00 for men, 2:43:00 for women – to earn a spot in the U.S. Olympic Trials field. Runners attaining the ‘A’ standard – 2:15:00 for men and 2:37:00 for women – will receive funding support for the Trials, set for Los Angeles.

The CIM will offer bonuses for U.S. runners achieving the Trials’ standards: $2,500 for an ‘A’ standard and $1,000 for a ‘B’ standard. Athletes must be current U.S. citizens and eligible to represent the U.S. in international competition.

The Sacramento Running Association, which puts on the CIM, is helping runners’ efforts by providing pacers for all four Trials’ qualifying standards. Kim Conley, a 2012 Olympian who lives in West Sacramento and competes for the SRA Elite Team, plans to help pace the women chasing the 2:43 ‘B’ standard.

The CIM is widely recognized as an ideal race to earn an Olympic Trials qualifying time because of the typically cool weather and the fast, slightly downhill course. The race is one of the few U.S. marathons that makes significant efforts to cater to the potential Trials qualifier by using pacers and qualifying bonuses.

Ely, 35, sums up her three Trials’ experiences with an exclamation point.

“It’s been really exciting every time,” she said.

Kaitlin Gregg Goodman, a former standout at Davis High School and UC Davis, plans to make the journey from her home in Providence, R.I. in hopes of earning a trip to the Trials in her first marathon.

“This has been a dream of mine since 2008,” said Goodman, who went to watch the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene with her brother, former Stanford distance ace Brendan Gregg.

Goodman, 27, barely missed a chance to compete in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. She earned the ‘B’ standard in the 10,000 meters but her time wasn’t quite fast enough to earn one of the limited spots in the field.

“This is a little bit of redemption,” she said. “I want to run CIM. It’s the hometown marathon and I have so many friends and family there.”

David Laney, a 26-year-old runner from Ashland, Ore., also wants to make amends for the past. He ran last year’s CIM in 2:18:26, just missing the 2:18 Trials standard.

“Just race a little bit smarter,” said Laney, who regrets turning in 5:04, 5:05 and 4:59 miles in the middle of the race.

“A few of those middle miles just got a little bit rich … It was too soon to do that.”

Stephanie Price, 25 and from Minneapolis, makes her marathon debut Sunday hoping to earn a spot in the Trials.

“That would be the best possible outcome,” she said. “I know without a doubt I have the ability to run a Trials qualifier.”

Price said she’s looking forward to testing the CIM course, which features gently rolling hills in the first half of the race followed by a mostly flat second half.

“I am also excited about the terrain and course for CIM,” she said. “I like point-to-point races, because I can just lock in and just lose myself in the race. I am also looking forward to the hills of it, because my legs respond better and I have more power in my stride with varied terrain.”

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.