McEntee eclipses marathon standard, qualifies for U.S. Trails

June 27, 2019
Keri McEntee Running

Keri McEntee

Keri McEntee of Fairbanks turned heartbreak into happiness by qualifying for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

McEntee, of Fairbanks, completed Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn., in 2 hours, 41 minutes and 19 seconds, a pace of 6:10 per mile. The result easily eclipsed the 2:45:00 women’s requirement and punched her ticket to the Trials next year in Atlanta, Georgia.

“So many emotions today and so grateful for the support from everyone tracking me and cheering me on near and far,” McEntee wrote on Facebook.

In April, McEntee was disheartened to just miss the mark with a 2:45:28 at April’s Boston Marathon.

In addition to the usual pain of digging deep in a marathon, McEntee suffered blisters and bloody feet at Grandma’s beginning at mile 3.

“Next time, I am wearing socks,” she said.

McEntee ran the first half in 1:20:33 and cruised through the second half nearly as quickly, a rare feat among marathoners. She placed 21st among 2,957 women — and 204th overall — in a prestigious race that attracts professional runners.

McEntee, 30, is an occupational therapist who moved to Fairbanks from New York State several years ago.

Despite being a relative newcomer to Alaska, McEntee has already won two of the state’s premier marathons: Mayor’s and Humpy’s in Anchorage. She’s improved her marathon time by an astounding 18 minutes since winning Mayor’s a year ago in 2:59.

A record four Alaskans have now qualified for the Trials. The others are Anna Dalton (she grew up in Anchorage and now lives in Bozeman, Mont.), Aaron Fletcher (he recently moved back to Anchorage from Utah) and Tony Tomsich (he grew up in Fairbanks and now lives in Vancouver, Canada).

By Matias Saari, Alaska Sports Blog Contributor