Despite an age gap of more than 30 years, Colleen De Reuck and Alana Hadley are gunning to run the 2013 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in roughly the same time.
On November 2, should the 49-year-old De Reuck and 16-year-old Hadley finish in 2:43:00 or faster, both will meet “B” qualifying standards for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
As Runner’s World points out, that could make them the oldest and youngest athletes competing for spots on the squad that heads to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Games.
De Reuck, a four-time Olympian, has spent much of the year training for and competing in triathlons, and earlier this month, her performance at Colorado’s Ironman 70.3 Boulder qualified her for next month’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship near Las Vegas.
Although she enjoys swimming and biking and feels it’s “nice to do something for enjoyment and something that’s totally different,” as she told Runner’s World, she’s still plenty proficient in straight-up running. Back in March, she finished the L.A. Marathon in 2:41:23, meaning her B goal is a real possibility.
Personal bests, she admits, are another matter.
“You just get slower as you get older, so those goals are gone,” De Reuck said.
On the flipside, Hadley’s best races are likely still ahead of her. The high school junior from Charlotte, NC, simply needs to get a better handle on the 26.2-mile distance, and that’s something she hopes will come with age.
“Every race is a learning experience,” Hadley told Runner’s World. “You learn just how much patience that you need to make sure that you’re staying focused constantly, even though it’s a long race.”
At the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, now in its sixth year, she’ll also stay focused on avoiding holes. Back in May, she stepped in one while making her marathon debut in Cleveland, and she hobbled home with an injured hamstring, crossing in 2:58:22.
As with De Reuck, though, there’s reason to believe the B standard is within reach. Last year, when she was 15, Hadley set a single-age U.S. half-marathon record with a time of 1:16:41. According to her coach and father, Mike, the youngster could benefit from crossing paths with De Reuck on the streets of Indianapolis.
“If they’re in the same type of ballpark time-wise, that would be great to have someone else out there that you know is going to run about what you’re trying to run,” he said. “It can give you someone to key off of and stay motivated over the course.”
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg