At the 2003 USA Marathon Championship in St. Louis, Colleen De Reuck “crashed and burned” at mile 25 to finish second to emerging star Sara Wells. At the U.S. Olympic Trials, in an event known for its surprises, De Reuck of Boulder, CO, 39, won the race in an upset over U.S. record holder and prohibitive favorite Deena Kastor in a Trials record time of 2:28:25. De Reuck also became a four-time Olympian (three times for South Africa) and the oldest U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion.
De Reuck’s performance broke Margaret Groos‘ record of 2:29:50 set at the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials in Pittsburgh and for the first time, three women broke 2:30 at the same U.S. Olympic Trials. The top seven times were the fastest times ever recorded for their place at the event and 12 of the top 20 set personal records.
In addition, with her 2:52:21, Bev Docherty of St. Paul, Minn. became the first (and only) six-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials finisher.