A Spokane marathon runner got her heavy lifting out of the way early this past weekend by qualifying for her second-straight U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, which are not going to be held for about two years.
Rachel Jaten, 38, won the Portland Marathon Sunday and beat the Olympic Trials qualifying mark by 45 seconds when she finished the 26.2 miles at 2:42:15.
Jaten qualified even before organizers have determined which of three cities – Los Angeles, Cincinnati or Houston – will host the trials in either late fall 2015 or early winter 2016.
“The window for qualifying opened Aug. 1,” Jaten said. “I was shooting for qualifying right away so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I’m stoked.”
Jaten is hoping to improve on her 136th-place finish in the last trials, held in January, 2012, in Houston.
“My coach and I haven’t discussed anything other than Portland,” Jaten said. Coach Brad Hudson, of Boulder, “told me to take the week off. But basically, I won’t have to run another marathon before the trials if I don’t have to. I hope to work on speed and strength and continue to build mileage.”
Jaten had been running about 95 miles a week in preparation for Portland. Over the winter, she’ll enter “maintenance mode” and run about 70 miles a week before building up the distances before the trials.
“I want to see if my body will take it going up over 100 miles a week,” she said.
The University High and Montana State University graduate only started training seriously about four years ago after about a decade off. And by the time the next trials come, Jaten will be 40.
“In a way, I’m kind of young in my running career because I took all that time off,” she said. “Every year, there are plenty of women in their 40s. It requires so much strength and stamina. A lot of times, the younger athletes don’t have that yet. So your age can be a benefit.”