Many of the top contenders met with media from around the world during an afternoon of round table interview sessions. Below are highlights from some of the participants:
Arciniaga has dealt with injury in the fall and had a relatively short build up to the trials, but he is reassured that he has had short build ups before other successful marathons. Arciniaga does find confidence by being in Houston because he has set a personal best every time he has raced in the city.
“If the field goes out like the last few trials, like 5:30’s for the first few miles, you might see me leading. If they go out in 4:40’s – 4:50’s, I won’t touch that until later on when I know have the ability to finish that strong.”
“I don’t think it is going to be a 2:11 guy that is going to make the team, I think it is going to be a 2:09 guy. So, I’m looking to run a PR if I want to make the team.”
“I feed off of positive energies and confidence is a huge thing. I’ve always run a PR in Houston, so I’m definitely out here to have another successful race, and Houston is a great place to do it.”
Magdalena Lewy Boulet
Boulet knows she is one of the veterans in this race and finds her experience and knowledge to be an asset. Boulet has run a personal best in both of her previous marathon Olympic Trials and says that she is coming to the line confident that she has done everything she can possibly do to come to the starting line as fit as possible.
“I’ve PR’d at both Olympic Trial races, and I’m 38, so I do have some experience in both life and in running, so I think I am a little bit more relaxed. I really don’t worry about the little things any more. I know I have no control over anyone. I worry about what I need to do and putting my best foot forward.”
“It was great to come here and run the half marathon in 2011. Knowing the course is something that you can mentally prepare for. It is still a race, and I’ve done races where I knew the course in and out and I didn’t have a great race. But, I’ve done races where I’ve never stepped my foot on it
Gotcher fully embraces his status as a dark horse and is more comfortable running out of the lime light. Gotcher spoke of being inspired not only by the top guys in the country and the world improving their times, but also by his own teammates on Team USA Arizona.
“If I’m having a great day I’m going to do what I have to do. But it seems that I’ve had most of my success when I’ve just laid back a little bit and let all of the funny stuff work itself out for the first part of the race, then just still be there.”
On being a dark horse : “The more comfortable you are going into a race like this, the better off you are going to be. I’ve always been more comfortable out of the limelight, so that is where I try to put myself.”
Lehmkuhle acknowledged that it is easy to get nervous at the trials because it is built up so much, but he draws on his experience to not get over zealous. Lehmkuhle spoke of the amazing conditions Team USA Minnesota was able to enjoy in training for the trials.
“I had a really good training cycle; I’m excited how it went. I’m excited where my fitness is and I just wanted to get out there and get it done this fall.”
“This is the stage where I am nervous about a lot of things right now. It’s an environment where if you are impatient it can eat you alive. There are plenty of opportunities to make a bad decision in a race that there is this much build up to, but hopefully having so much experience, I don’t make those bad decisions.”
“We had four of us all training for this race and that was great. Training was so much easier mentally, and I think the workouts were at another level because we had a nice group. The highlight was being able to go through the whole cycle with those guys.”
Gabrielson was specific in his objectives for Saturday. He wants to first run a PR and also to make it on the Olympic Team. Gabrielson mentioned several times that he knows anything can happen in the marathon and he is going to run the race he has trained for. Gabrielson joked of his age (33) and said he is still younger than Meb Keflezighi.
“The bottom line is you have to know and to trust what you are capable of and follow through with that. If that means you have to lay off a little bit and slowly work your way up, that’s how it is. I’m really, really curious to see how this race goes from the gun.”
“You have to make sure you aren’t crossing that fine line between suicide and crossing that finish line the way you should. I don’t what that is, you don’t know until you get out there, but I have a pretty good idea with the training we have done what is good and what is not good.”
Grandt sees herself as being one of the youngsters of the race, and admits she still has much to learn. But she also sees herself as a mature racer and wants to make as few mistakes as possible.
“Anything can happen, so I have been visualizing coming down the straight away and making the team.”
“Everything has gone really well, and I transitioned really well from college to professional running. I think I’m in a good spot right now.”
“I like to get into my groove and constantly pressing and pushing the pace.”
Cherobon-Bawcom spoke of her changed perspective from using running as a tool to obtain to a college degree, to discovering that she did have the potential to become a professional runner. She knows that her personal best in the marathon does not reflect her current level of fitness and is ready to run faster than she ever has before.
“I’m excited. This is a new page for me, and we’ll see what I can write on that page.”
When asked if she ever thought of running for Kenya: “I never thought of running for anyone until last year. But I am so proud to be running for the U.S.”
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