Youngren fifth Alaska marathon runner to punch ticket to Trials
Alaska now has five runners who will race the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials next February in Atlanta.
Megan Youngren of Soldotna joined the party on Sunday with a run of 2 hours, 43 minutes and 52 seconds at the California International Marathon in Sacramento. That eclipsed the required 2 hours, 45 minutes by 68 seconds.
Youngren’s run was a nearly nine-minute improvement from her previous best, a 2:52:33 at the 2019 Anchorage RunFest Marathon in August. The CIM result also vaulted her into fourth place on the all-time list of Alaskan female marathoners.
Youngren, 28, placed 40th among women in an exceptionally deep field. Due to its downhill profile and stellar competition, the CIM course is considered fast and was targeted by scores of elite runners as one of the final opportunities to qualify for the U.S. Trials.
Youngren joins Anna Dalton of Anchorage (who qualified at 2018 CIM), Keri McEntee of Fairbanks, Aaron Fletcher of Anchorage and former Fairbanksan Tony Tomsich in qualifying for the trials.
Youngren had speedy Alaskan company on Sunday.
Julianne Dickerson placed 120th among women in 2:49:52, the ninth-fastest run all-time for Alaskan women. She ran the second half more than three minutes quicker than the first half and passed 122 women in that stretch.
Ryan Cox of Anchorage also had a career day, running 2:26:28 to place 124th overall. He also posted a negative split and passed 98 men after halfway. And Ryan Beckett of Anchorage clocked 2:45:59.
Meanwhile, David Kiplagat, a former star runner at the University of Alaska Anchorage and four-time winner of the Mayor’s Marathon, came agonizingly close to qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials. Needing a 2:19:00 or faster, the 35-year-old was on pace until late in the race but came up just short in 2:19:38, good for 54th place among men.
Kiplagat, now living in Albuquerque, N.M., blazed the first half in 1:08:26 but slowed down the stretch. He still recorded a personal best.
By Matias Saari, blog contributor