Associate Director of Athletics for Facilities Rachel Booth competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon on Feb. 29 at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Ga. It was Booth’s second appearance at an Olympic Trials, having also competed in 2012.
“I started running in the fifth grade,” said Booth. “My elementary school would have a fall and spring run called a ‘jog-a-thon.’ It was a cross country race with all of the elementary schools in the district. After winning those, that was my springboard into my love of running.”
Booth has now competed in eight marathons, including the two Olympic Trials.
“I ran [at the Olympic Trials] in 2012 and had my fastest marathon in a time of two hours and thirty-seven minutes, which is a pace of six minutes and two seconds per mile,” said Booth.
“I was running more leisurely around the 2016 Trials so I didn't try for that one, so this year was my second. You need a qualifying marathon, or super-fast half marathon, in order to be qualified for the Trials and the marathon has to be within a qualifying window in order to compete. This Olympic Trials there was a record number of qualifiers. However, out of the five hundred and eleven women who started the race only three hundred and ninety women finished. Everyone knew the course was going to be super hilly, but it was also extremely windy which didn't allow for very fast times. This time my time was two hours and forty-seven minutes, or a pace of six minutes and twenty-four seconds per mile.”
For Booth, running is not only a calming experience but a way of joining new communities. In addition to marathons, she enjoys half marathons and ten-mile distances. To challenge herself, she tries to always have a race on her calendar as a means of staying motivated and staying healthy.
“The key to a successful marathon is to remain consistent with your training,” noted Booth.
“You don't have to have serious high mileage, but I highly recommend that you incorporate one long run and one tempo or marathon type workout during your training week. The marathon pace workout will help to build your confidence for holding your pace and the long run will help build time on your feet for those later miles when the marathon may begin to feel exceptionally long. I'm always happy to chat running with anyone who is thinking about testing themselves with the distance.”
Photo provided by Michael Koseruba.