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2008 USA Women's Olympic Trials - The Contenders
by MarathonGuide.com Staff
Approximately 150 women will start the Olympic Trials race, but many will not have a legitimate chance of making the Olympic team. For those women, the Trials will be their "olympics." Looking seriously at the field, we expect there to be no more than 10 women who have a shot at making the team, and there are probably 6 who could show up on all lists.
See also: The Veterans
Name: Elva Dryer
DOB: 9/26/71 Durango, CO
Home: Gunnison, CO
Coach: Russ Dryer
The Two-Time Olympian Stepping Up
Why: Elva Dryer ran the 5,000M at the 2000 Olympics, the 10,000M at the 2004 Olympics and now she will be attempting to step up to represent the USA in the 2008 Olympics Marathon. At 36, Dryer is on the older end of the spectrum, but she knows what it takes to be an Olympian and has the speed to break through. Dryer ran a 2:31:48 marathon debut, placing 12th at The 2006 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon and started 2007 with a bang, claiming the USA National half-marathon championships with a personal best at that distance of 1:11:42. If the day is right, Dryer can certainly make the team.
Name: Kate ONeill
DOB: 7/29/80 New Haven, CT
Home: Palo Alto, CA
Trials Qualifications: a seven-time NCAA All-American at Yale University, O'Neill made her marathon debut at the 2007 LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, placing third overall on a terrible, hot day, but still finishing in a respectable time of 2:36:15. O'Neill then won the 2008 USA Half Marathon title in Houston, posting a time of 1:11:57, and beating a field heavy with Olympic Trials qualifiers.
O'Neill is training with Deena Kastor and the rest of the Running USA group in Mammoth Lakes. As part of that group, she will benefit from the combined experience of Kastor, Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi - role models that will make the difference to this newcomer to marathoning. Running a third place performance in Chicago is no small feat and suggests that O'Neill has what it takes for bigger and better things.
Name: Samia Akbar
Home: Herndon, VA
Coach: Scott Raczko
Trials Qualifications: 2006 NYC Marathon (2:34:14), 10,000M
Up and Coming
Why: Samia Akbar was an eight-time school record holder at American University, but brought all of her running to new levels in 2006 with personal bests in six different events. Samia's marathon debut - a 2:34:14 at the difficult New York City Marathon course in 2006 suggests that she can do well in the trials. Akbar placed 49th in 2:56:27 at the IAAF World Championships Marathon in September 2007 - another difficult course.