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2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Women’s Marathon New England Qualifier Press Conference Quotes
by: BAA
April 17, 2008

Kristin Barry (Scarborough, ME)

On competing in the Olympic Trials…

For me, the Trials themselves are kind of like the Olympics. To get on the line and be in a race with the best runners in the country is a dream for me.

On qualifying for the Olympic Trials…

I’ve always wanted to qualify. I’ve tried twice before and I’ve always hoped I could do it. You know, I’m getting older and the times are getting faster, so I thought if I’m going to do it, I need to do it now.


On her daily training…

It’s been pretty challenging, but my training partner Sheri (Piers) and I have been really good about meeting early in the morning and I usually get home before the kids are awake. So I feel like I’ve been able to limit the impact on my family. Next week I’m sleeping in!


On what goes through her mind while running…

It depends on the day. Sometimes I’m thinking about the things I have to do. Sometimes I have songs stuck in my head. A lot of times, when I’m with Sheri, we’re just gabbing away. This week I’ve been picturing the course – trying to picture myself on the course, doing the race. 


On handling adversity on the course…

If it’s during a race, I just try and remember that everyone around me must be hurting as much as I am, or they’d be ahead of me.



Caroline Bjune (Andover, MA) 

On getting involved with distance running…

I have always liked running. I was a soccer player growing up, so I just enjoy running. I always wanted to run the Boston Marathon, so I ran Philadelphia in grad school. From then on, I have just enjoyed running on this level.


On being named New England Runner magazine’s top female open runner of 2007…

I was pretty surprised. There are a lot of competitive racers in New England. To be selected as the best female in the state was a real honor.


On balancing her career with training…

I wake up at 4:30 every morning. I drive to work in Cambridge. I do a quick run in the morning and then if I have to run again, I’ll run when I get home with my husband. I have a very supportive husband, so that helps out a lot too.


Her advice to aspiring female runners…

Just to have fun and make sure you’re enjoying it. Don’t limit yourself because you never know what can happen. I had no intention to really qualify for the Olympic Trials when I had run in Philadelphia, it just sort of happened. Anything can happen.



Brett Ely (Cambridge, MA)

On the Olympic Trials course…

I think it is really a pretty gentile course. It’s not like training for Boston where it is such an advantage to have raced it before, just to get ready for those hills. It’s pretty flat and dips a bit here and there. I think the biggest factor could be the wind. I’ve tried to duplicate that by seeking out windy stretches and running into them. Something I don’t do usually.


On superstitions…

In high school, if I had a good race, something became lucky. Over the years it just comes down to how you prepare in training. It isn’t about a magic sports bra or a lucky bagel or whatever. So I have really gotten away from those.


On training…

It has been less than usual coming back from an injury. I got up to 100 miles one week, but it was more like a lot of 80 mile weeks, which is less than I usually do. Usually I get a lot of confidence from looking back on my training and seeing how much I’ve done, but I’m feeling great, better than ever, which is surprising because I feel like I’ve done less training than usual.


On what she’ll do differently from the 2004 Olympic Trials in St. Louis…

I plan on doing just about everything differently. In 2004, I qualified a little less than seven weeks before the Trials. I wasn’t really expecting to qualify and I wasn’t really expecting to run. I just kind of went there and felt more like a spectator. While it was a great experience, I regret that I wasn’t able to prepare to be ready to run. I feel this is a great opportunity and I’ve gotten over the intimidation of being around these women that I always thought were superstars and I feel like now I can just treat it like another race.


On maturing as a runner…

I think a big part of it was that I wasn’t running with a team then. I was doing it on my own and just kind of guessing. I didn’t have a coach and it was entirely for me. Joining up with the B.A.A. has been just tremendous.



Emily LeVan (Wiscasset, ME)

On her race strategy…

I think the one thing that concerns me is going out too quickly. The course is pretty flat and you are so pumped up, the tendency is there to come out quick and waste a lot of your energy. One of the goals for me is to go out conservatively, find a rhythm and work my way through the ranks. 


On running a loop course

I’ve run one other loop marathon before (at the 2005 World Championships) and I really liked it, but that one didn’t have the hairpin turns across the river like this one does. I get a little bit concerned about crossing the Mass Avenue Bridge eight times, so I’ve been working on maintaining my focus. But it will also be nice in ways because you’ll be able to see where other runners are and you’ll be able to develop strategy as the race goes on.


On her daughter’s battle with leukemia…

She actually understands a lot more than you think she might. One of the things my husband Brad and I have been adamant about from the beginning is being up front with her about it. She knows the disease and the things she’s had to go [through] have become commonplace to her. So she knows exactly what’s going to happen at when we visit the hospital, or visit the clinic. She takes quite a bit of ownership over this and is able to deal with it with a maturity way beyond her years.


On her knowledge of the disease…

I only knew a little bit about it. I knew there were two main types and I knew she had the type that had the better prognosis. As a nurse, I have a general understanding about most of the procedures she goes through and I know about many of the medications and what to look for. One of the other things that’s nice is that I’m able to do a lot of the administration of blood draws and medicine at home, which is good for Maddie and good for us.


On training with Kristin Barry and Sheri Piers…

I’ve run against Kristin and Sheri in local races, but this winter we got together for training runs and I found it to be great. Mentally, running in Maine, in the middle of winter, is challenging, especially with the longer runs. I found them to be great support and we’re all training for the same thing. So we could all talk about our challenges and learn from each other.



Sheri Piers (Falmouth, ME) 

On her qualifying race in Philadelphia…

Kristin (Barry) put together a program for us and we followed it to a T. Putting in the extra miles made all the difference in the world. That’s why this time around we’ve increased our mileage that much more...Because it worked for Philly.


On crossing the finish line in that race…

I can’t even start to explain it. It was just unbelievable. For me, I was happier for Kristen because she had already attempted to qualify in the past. I was happy to be a part of it because it was her dream. It never really was mine. 


On her goals for the race…

You tend to create goals in your head which are probably very unrealistic, which I think a lot of people do. And then there are those goals which are probably a little more realistic. Kristin (Barry) and I were talking on the way down here about those goals. I mean the ultimate goal would be to come in the top 20, but a more realistic goal would be to run a 2:40 or 2:41. And I would feel okay if I ran better than 2:45.


Her advice to aspiring female runners…

I would say that with hard work you can do whatever you want to. Putting in the hard work is really the most important thing.



Molly Taber (Somerville, MA)

On the familiarity of the course…

The marathon is such a mental game that being somewhere familiar and having the fan support is huge. When you know the course, it just takes so much pressure off mentally. It eases my mind so much.


On her mileage…

It’s anywhere from 95 to 120 miles per week. It’s the highest mileage I’ve ever done, but it will definitely help.


On the biggest change from the 2004 Olympic Trials in St. Louis…

Going to Arizona for six weeks…And I’m training a lot harder. It’s a different course than I’ve ever taken and I’m hoping it will help on Sunday.


On her goal time…

I’m just going to go with it, hoping to just lock into a good rhythm and just go. Hopefully there will be a lot of women with me running around the same pace. A personal record would be great. I’m hoping that it is early enough in the morning that the wind won’t be much of a factor.


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