Five athletes — five personal best performances. You can’t really beat that, right? This past weekend we had five athletes participate in the Grandmas Marathon and Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. Kelsey Bruce, Stetson Rayas, and Trent Phelps all took part in the half marathon, while Jake Krolick and Chad Maloy ran in the full marathon.
Duluth holds a special place in my heart; it’s home to my personal bests in the marathon (2013) and the half marathon (2014) and my first Olympic Trials Qualifier (Dawn Grunnagle, 2014)…and now it holds the fastest half marathon (women) and marathon (men) times that I have ever coached.
Kelsey Bruce once again ran to an amazing performance with a 1:13:41 and 5th place finish. The training was less than ideal leading into Grandmas and actually kick-starts her training for the 2019 World Championships Marathon in Doha, where she’ll represent Team USA. The Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon was only Kelsey’s fifth week back to training after a long campaign that included personal best performances in the marathon and 10,000 meters and qualified for the World Championships.
Stetson Rayas made his debut in the half marathon, after a long track season, in 1:06:34…that’s an average of 5:05/mile pace in his first road race. The plan was to run as evenly as possible and Stetson did just that…running 5:05/mile pace through the first 6.9 miles, then dropping to 5:01/mile pace for the next five miles. It was a rough last 1+ mile to the finish, but a great debut for a young runner with an immense talent.
Trent Phelps followed in Stetson with a time of 1:07:37, for an average of 5:10/mile pace. He spent all year training for the 3000 meter steeplechase, so this was quite the step up for him in distance, but he handled it well and came away excited about another shot at the distance.
In the marathon Jake Krolick ran to a 30-second personal best time of 2:24:15…through 20 miles Jake was smelling that OT qualifier and I’m convinced that he’s close to nailing that time.
Chad Maloy debuted in the marathon and battled through some rough patches to finish in 2:29:44. Chad is one of the most talented guys I have ever coached, shown by his 1:06:12 half marathon in October.
I have no doubt that Jake, Chad, Stetson, and Trent can all get that OT qualifying mark in the marathon before February 2020 and I’m excited to help them get there!!!
This was a big weekend for our crew and I’m super proud of the efforts that they all gave in training and in racing.