Why Are American Women Running Faster Than Ever? We Asked Them — Hundreds of Them

www.nytimes.com
7 min read
fairly easy
What's behind a sea change in women's elite and sub-elite running.
More than 450 women will race in the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon in Atlanta on Saturday. That's a huge number, reflecting changes in rules, innovative shoe technology and a sea change in women's running.

Amateur women are running faster than ever, and, through communal networks online, showing others how to do so.

To qualify to race on Saturday, a woman had to complete a marathon in 2 hours 45 minutes or faster sometime in the last three years, roughly a pace of 6 minutes 17 seconds per mile.

U.S. women's marathons at 2:45 or faster Athletes may have more than one OTQ result per year · Sources: World Athletics, Association of Road Racing Statisticians

The women represent a range of backgrounds, and many have pushed themselves to results they once thought unachievable. We know this, because we talked to them — hundreds of them.

Through social media networks, running clubs, online message boards and the runners' own personal networks, The New York Times reached about two-thirds of the qualifiers.

Tierney Wolfgram, 16 Cross-country phenom from Minnesota Tavyn Lovitt, 24 Runs with a patch of a lone wolf because she trains alone Kelsey Hodges, 27 Also an aeronautical engineer Carissa Galloway, 29 Came in 10th in half marathon while 21 weeks pregnant Regina and Sabrina Lopez, 29 Twin sisters; they will start the race together. Keri McEntee, 30 Trains at an indoor track at an ice area in Fairbanks, Ala. Kimberly Maloney, 30 The Olympic trials will be her second marathon Starla Garcia, 30 Inspired to try to qualify after hearing Carly Gill on a podcast Stefanie Slekis, 32 Finished fifth in the Louisiana marathon while eight months' pregnant Kristen Heckert, 33 High school math teacher who runs 100 miles a week Melissa Penwell, 33 Didn't realize she was on trials-qualifying pace until Mile 22 Katie O'Neil, 34 Thought she'd only ever do one marathon Meghan Bishop, 34 Also an orthopedic surgeon Caroline Bauer, 36 Pediatric nurse practitioner; runs 85 miles per week…
Talya Minsberg, Kevin Quealy
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