A Look at Laura Thweatt’s 2:28:23 Debut and Decision to Skip The US Olympic Marathon Trials

by LetsRun.com
November 1, 2015

NEW YORK — The 2015 US Cross Country Champion, Laura Thweatt, turned heads in New York with her 2:28:23 marathon debut to finish seventh. (We recap the women’s race here. Thweatt stayed with the leaders for nearly 20 miles and passed a few people to finish 7th).

Thweatt’s career has been on the upswing since she graduated from the University of Colorado in 2011 never having finished higher than third in her conference. As a pro, she ran 15:04 for 5000 last year and in February won the US XC title, but her 2:28 today — the top time by an American — will resonate with a larger national television audience.

After the race, speculation turned to whether Thweatt would reconsider her plans not to run the US Olympic Marathon Trials in February. Both Thweatt and her coach, Lee Troop, said Thweatt would still not do the Olympic Marathon Trials. Thweatt even said if she had won the race she wouldn’t have done the Olympic Trials Marathon and will focus on trying to make the Olympics on the track.

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Thweatt never made the NCAA meet in college and due to injuries and her late-developing success, has only competed at USA outdoors once, finishing 14th in her heat at 5k in 2013. (She didn’t qualify for the Olympic Trials in 2012).

Lee Troop Was Not Surprised by Thweatt’s Run – Wants Her To Be Around the Next 10 Years

Thweatt’s coach, Lee Troop, was far from surprised by today’s run. He said he predicted on a good day she’d run between 2:25 and 2:28 and he was satisfied with her 2:28.

“She had a fantastic experience. Debuts are either good or bad and we had a good one,” said Troop.

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When we asked her why she wouldn’t do the Marathon Trials in February after such a strong debut, Troop said he doesn’t want her to run three marathons in the span of 10 months (NY, Trials, Olympics).

“I want Laura to be around for the next 10 years. I don’t want to end her career in the space of one year,” said Troop.

Troop did say Thweatt’s focus on the track will be the 10,000 as she’s the type of athlete that would do all of the leading in the 5,000 only to be outkicked.

“Look, Laura is going to be the girl that’s gonna wheel everyone around and get outkicked and finish 4th in the 5k. She doesn’t have the speed to close out the last 6 or 800. In the 10k, I think that’s where her strength is. I look at Shalane and Deena and all of those [10k] girls, and I think Laura is of the same ilk, the same makeup,” said Troop.

How Does Thweatt’s Debut Stack Up?
We decided to see how Thweatt’s debut compared to the five women at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials who have a faster marathon PR than Thweatt’s 2:28:23. It’s interesting to note that when Shalane Flanagan debuted at the 2010 NYC Marathon, she ran slower than Thweatt did today but finished second, ahead of Mary Keitany, because the race started so slow.

Athlete PB Debut
Shalane Flanagan 2:21:14 2:28:40 (2010 NYC, 2nd)
Desi Linden 2:23:54 2:44:56 (2007 Boston)
Amy Cragg 2:27:03 2:27:03 (2011 LA)
Serena Burla 2:28:01 2:37:06 (2010 NYC)
Kara Goucher 2:24:52 2:25:53 (2008 NYC, 3rd)

Interview with Thweatt Below

Thweatt talks below about her debut and how running New York and being the top American was an amazing experience. She got to meet Paul Tergat, Paula Radcliffe and even Spike Lee this week, in addition to holding her own with some of the top women in the world.

Thweatt will return to Colorado, where she is an XC coach for the Monarch High School team that had the individual state champ in Isaac Green yesterday.

Thweatt Getting Some Lobe on ABC7 Thweatt Getting Some Lobe on ABC7
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