Quick Trip to the Trials, Regional Surprises, Uplifting Displays – by Bob F.

History Restored– Made a late decision to travel to Atlanta. Magazine went to the printer on Wednesday afternoon, few beers-almost booked, thought it over, gotta support the NE/NY athletes; plus, there’s the every four year spectacle of it.


Offered a cot in a room for two nights with original Stowe 8M RD Jim Miller and former U. Vermont coach Larry Kimball (who has a press pass from NER!).  Book on Thursday, arrive on Friday and keep a Trials streak alive that goes back to Columbia, SC in 1996.

On a day of extremes for these New Yorkers, ultra marathon ace Ellie Pell (L) would run 2:44:59 while Willow St. AC ace Karen Bertasso (in green) would have all sorts of problems, including vomiting through the final miles but would still gut it out (no pun intended) in 2:54:17. All Photos by FitzFoto/NERunner



Every trialist has grit and guts and the Atlanta course would put it to the test. Found a spot on Piedmont St. near 5.5miles, 13.6miles and the official 35K spot. Wasn’t where we’d planned setting up but the crowds—unlike L.A.—were huge and hugely supportive. No press pass, no problem, check out the NER Instagram page on the Trials (Thank-you Jess Cover).


Running at 6-minute pace, CT’s Annmarie Tuxbury leads a large pack followed by another large pack—not unusual on this day with over 400 female starters.


Vermont’s Heidi Caldwell (with pink gloves) came in with a cold, but…


Regional Surprises: Talking with Connecticut ace Ann-Marie Tuxbury’scoach, Ray Lapinksi, who we bumped into before the start, revealed that Annmarie had hamstring woes. She’d only run one marathon, a 2nd place Trials qualifier at the 2018 Vermont City Marathon.


“We’d planned on a fall marathon in 2019 but during the summer she had a hamstring twinge and we decided to pull back. She did have two quality half marathons and both PRs, 1:13 at Hartford and then 1:12 at Houston, so she was hoping for top 30 here today, but now,” commented Lapinski, “the hamstring was a bother at a recent track workout and it’s a shame because everything was going great.”


We ran into Ray post-event and he mentioned that the hamstring did, indeed, crop at certain times…


Tuxbury crushed it in 2:39:05 for 35th out of a record 390 finishers. She’d been ranked in the 300s coming in.


“I’m super stoked to come out of this with a five-minute plus PR on a beast of a course,” Tuxbury commented on her Instagram post. “I don’t think I’ll ever have to run something this hard again…the support from friends, family and New Englanders was incredible.”


The BAA’s Katie Kellner received national attention this fall when she jumped into the Chestnut Hill Reservoir to rescue a man and his dog from drowning. Katie was happy to focus all the drama on race day as the former Cornell runner posted up 57th in 2:41:42.


Another runner coming in not 100% was Heidi Caldwell of Craftsbury, VT who was accompanied by a cold. The “black sheep” of a famous ski family (because she chose running) Caldwell had qualified with a 2:42:15 at Hartford last Oct. Despite the deck being stacked, Heidi still ran 2:43:28 for 89th.

A shout-out on the men’s side to top 10ers: 6th overall in 2:11:29, Washingtonville, NY native Martin Hehir; finishing 8th in 2:12:10, CT native Jonas Hampton, a graduate of Hartford U. who ran his 1st marathon in 2:15 to win Hartford; in 9th, Colin Bennie in 2:12:14, a native of Princeton, MA who was a teammate of Hehir’s at Syracuse.


The B.A.A. had 14 members competing, more than any other club in the US. In this pack from L-R are Eric Ashe, Alex Taylor, Brian Harvey and Dan Harper.


NJ’s Annmarie Marino. In 2008, Marino was the youngest participant in the US Olympic Marathon Team Trials—2 months older than Maine’s Erica Jesseman.


Running right behind Saucony teammate Laura Thweatt, Boston area resident Molly Seidel (in headband) would make the US Olympic teammate in her debut marathon. Surprise!


Abdi Abdirahman making his 5th Olympic team at age 43 was a surprise. Five of the six team members were a surprise. The only relative “given” on the day was that defending champion Galen Rupp (right of Abdi) would put the hammer down to win going away.




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