From a 4:35 marathon to the Olympic Trials!

I’m sure y’all have read running blogs from everyday, average runners who often state their goals, and a few of them list qualifying for the Olympic trials as one of them. And you really want to root for them and you hope that they eventually do qualify, but then they train six months for a marathon and they finish in four and a half hours.

But they press on because they really want to qualify, really, really badly.  It’s all they want in life and yada, yada, yada.  And now you know in the back of your mind your thinking…

you be trippin
I’ll admit it, I’ve thought that and I’m not really proud of it, but I have.

But then I started following Andrea Duke.

Andrea Duke never ran competitively in high school and she never ran in college. She graduated high school, went to college and then got her masters degree.  After that she got a Ph.D. in Communication Studies and Sports Management. She also got married and managed to have a few kids along the way, but she wasn’t ever really focused on running and with all that going on, who would be?

Andrea Duke started running as a way to ease the stress of her job after American Airlines Flight 77 smashed into the western side of the Pentagon, her workplace. Her first marathon was the inaugural D.C. Marathon in 2002. Up until that point her longest training run had been 10 miles.

Never again

She didn’t kill it. She finished it in 4:35:21 and she cried when it was over. She said she hated it, and she swore she’d never run another one.

im never running again
Andrea did run again and just four months after giving birth to her son Noah in 2008 she qualified for her first Boston Marathon and in October of 2013 she won her first marathon with a time of 3:07:08. In February of 2014 she ran the Rock N Roll Marathon in New Orleans and she won the race in 2:58:55.  She credits her kids for making her a faster runner.  (If I were her, I’d have more kids!)

Only after winning in New Orleans did Andrea decide to get a running coach, her first ever, at age 34.  She ran another marathon in San Diego, but finished in about the same time as she did in New Orleans so she kept going.

It was in October of 2014 in Chicago, 1 year later, when Andrea Duke would improve again. She ran the Chicago Marathon with the hopes of finishing in under 2:50. She finished as the 19th woman overall in 2:41:05.

Damn girl!
Andrea Duke, at age 35, qualified for the Olympic Trials.

On February 13th, she’ll line up with all of the other qualifiers and run for a spot on the Olympic team, just two weeks before she turns 37.

So the next time you see that goal of qualifying for the Olympic trials on a 4 hour plus marathoner’s blog, root for them dammit. You never know, they might just be the next Andrea Duke.

Who’s your favorite person running in the Olympic trials this year?
Do you think it’s possible for Andrea to improve yet again?

15 thoughts on “From a 4:35 marathon to the Olympic Trials!

  1. Whoa that is crazy!!! It gives me hope that some day I’ll reach my goal of a sub-2:30 half marathon. I’m going through a slow patch right now, but maybe I can speed it up in the future!

  2. This lady is seriously one of my favorite humans. I’ve had the honor of being her friend, and have worked with her on some projects that benefit kids with developmental disabilities. She has supported me through my running. She’s a professor (recently downgraded it for a while, of course), owns and works an indoor soccer and sports playground for kids with her hubs, is in love with every sport on the planet, loves sports journalism, and is a Mommy.

    Simply, she ADORES life. Everything she does reflects that image! She’s just amazing, and I can’t wait to see what she throws down on race day!:) You represented her so well here!

    • Oh my gosh, thank you so much. I was so hoping that I was painting an accurate picture because I’ve been following her for quite some time and have so much respect and admiration for her. I love that you know her and can attest to her character because she does seem like such a genuine soul and so talented. I am super excited to watch her at the trials, I think she’s only beginning to show the world what she can do! And she sounds like an awesome friend too 🙂

  3. What an inspirational story ! I know that I’m never going run a marathon, but it makes me want to push harder and train better.

  4. This is so great! And then I wonder, why didn’t I go from my 4:18 debut, to something far more impressive than my PR of 3:53? haha! But seriously, her success is so impressive. One of our local runners will be running at the OlympicTrials too. I can’t wait to see how he does!

    • That’s so exciting. I love watching locals and people you know and I always love a good success story and going from 4:18 to 3:53 is pretty darn impressive in my book! 🙂

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