Congratulations to Jessica McGuire for her phenomenal result at California International Marathon, where she qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials by running the outstanding time of 2:43:55, a PR of over 11 minutes. Jess trained incredibly hard over the last year, and she earned this result in the truest sense of the word. Her focus and dedication were rewarded today in a huge way, and I could not be more proud of her!
When Jess started this training cycle, her PR was 2:55:30. That time, which she ran at Chicago in 2016, was a huge breakthrough, as her previous PR was 3:13:52 from 2012. 2:55 is an excellent run, but it is a far cry from qualifying for the Olympic Trials. But Jess had a dream, and she pursued it doggedly. To make the jump to the Trials qualifier level, Jess put in month after month of high mileage, hard workouts, and countless hours of intense cross training, and she was clearly in fantastic shape. Even with all of that extremely hard work, it took a huge leap of faith for Jess to believe that she was capable of essentially running her half marathon PR twice in a row. The binary nature of the Trials qualification system is harsh–2:44:59 gets you a ticket to the big show, while 2:45:01 puts you on the outside looking in. Jess knew she could comfortably run in the 2:48 range, which would have been a huge PR. But after some soul searching in the days leading up to the race, Jess decided that it was worth taking the risk of blowing up at 20 miles to take her shot at qualifying, and on race day she was 100% committed to putting herself in a position to hit the standard. Jess’s belief in herself proved to be well-founded, as she not only qualified, but by a comfortable margin.
I’ve coached many elite athletes over the years, and I know what it means to train hard and with singular focus. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen an athlete work as hard as Jess did leading up to CIM. And I’ve never seen an athlete make the absolute most of her talent the way Jess did at CIM. Jess achieved this fantastic result the old-fashioned way, by dedicating herself to an ambitious goal and doing anything and everything she could to achieve it. Well done!