Sarah Anyan’s feet hurt, and her shoes weren’t going to make things much better. But as much as she and Tyler loved running, they weren’t going to walk down the aisle in cushioned trainers. 

So, months of plantar pain be damned, she danced and had a great time at her wedding. And when she woke up, she felt…better. 

It was a little more than three months until the California International Marathon. 

“I felt like I could for a run and it didn’t hurt all the time, something changed,” she said. “I can at least run through whatever I felt — before it hurt to walk.”

When the couple got back to their Arlington home, Sarah joined Tyler for their family goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials. 

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The weekend of the 2019 Houston Marathon, Maura Linde reviewed the course map for a final time — not to make sure she had every turn, hill, and water station memorized, but rather to scope out the medical aid stations so she could drop out with people nearby.

“I really did think I wasn’t going to finish it,” she said.

Just five days before the race, she had caught a stomach virus that had torn through the cross country athletes she coached at Johns Hopkins University. She was aiming to run under 2:45 to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials, but she and her coach, Jerry Alexander of the Georgetown Running Club, almost pulled the plug.

“I couldn’t eat real food till a couple days before,” Linde recalled, saying she instead focused on staying hydrated. “I didn’t run again till the Friday before for a shake out.”

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Chip time doesn’t mean a thing while chasing an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. It was going to be up to Rachel Viger to hurry across the starting line at the California International Marathon, then run the 26.2 miles even faster than the 2:45:00 qualifying time. 

She wound up taking 12 seconds to get across the starting line because she didn’t make the elite start, coming into the Dec. 8 race with just a 3:03:59 personal best, set a year before at the Marine Corps Marathon. From that alone, running under 2:45, plus those extra seconds, would seem daunting. But she did it, with 46 seconds to spare.

“She was a 3:03 marathoner but she wasn’t really a 3:03 marathoner,” said Capital Area Runners Coach George Buckheit. “It looks shocking to a lot of people, but most people don’t realize how good she was in high school and college.” 

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Running along the C&O Canal Towpath last fall, Dan Meteer bumped into Arlingtonians Mike Crozier and Clint McKelvey. Typically a solo runner, Meteer joined them, and listened to the two discuss a friend’s marathon training.

By Meteer’s retelling, they expressed skepticism their friend was running enough to help him break 2:19 and qualify him for the Olympic Marathon Trials. Approaching his own debut marathon at California International a few months later, Meteer, 24, was eager to hear their opinions, then horrified.

“I’m just like oh god, they’re basically talking about me,” he said. “I decided, ‘screw it, I’m going to run 100 miles a week.'”

It was a risky move for a guy who spent most of five years at Brown going from injury to injury, still new to having consecutive months’ worth of training. But the gamble paid off, and he ran 2:17:43 in his first marathon.

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Everett Hackett (center) races the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. Photo: Cheryl Young

Racing a cross country 10K six days after running an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time isn’t exactly a conventional decision, but Everett Hackett isn’t exactly a conventional guy.

He ran cross country and track at George Mason University, and his college coach, Andrew Gerard, said Hackett doesn’t have a filter or care what others think.

“As a person, he’s probably one of the most unique young men that I’ve ever interacted with,” said Gerard, who is the director of track and cross country at George Mason.

Hackett, who is 29 and lives in Connecticut, wasn’t originally planning to run the USATF National Club Cross Country Championship in Bethlehem, Pa., on Dec. 14. But members of his team, the Hartbeat Track Club, were excited about running it, he said, and it became a joke as to whether he’d actually run it so soon after his marathon.

He did, and while he said he could have run faster if he was just training for the 10K race, he still ran 33:47 on the extremely muddy course.

“I had to do it for my team, and it was fun too – I had a blast,” he said.

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Zach Hine runs mile 22 of the California International Marathon. Photo: FlashFrame

Zach Hine has been running for more than 15 years and has accomplished something few runners can boast: he’s never been injured. And, oh yeah, he’s qualified for the Olympic trials in the marathon three separate times.

“I’ve been able to do the distance training without any serious injuries so that’s why I’ve been able to move up and do a lot of races,” said Hine, a 32-year-old who recently moved to the D.C. area from Colorado.

While the no-injuries thing doesn’t hurt (pardon the pun), Hine boasts an impressive running resume that takes more than just “listening to your body” to achieve. He placed 10th in the Boston Marathon in 2016, has won numerous races around the country and is set to run his third consecutive Olympic Marathon Trials this coming February in Atlanta.

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Brian Harvey finishes the 2017 California International Marathon. Photo: Sport Photo

Brian Harvey has come a long way from his 24-minute 5k during his freshman year of high school. The Ellicott City native, who now runs for the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials with a 2:17:48 finish at the 2018 California International Marathon. It will be his second appearance at the Trials.

The key to success for this Cambridge, Mass., resident has been his ability to balance consistent race performances with his full-time jobs as a biomedical engineer and as a father to his two-year-old daughter. Most days his training is done by 7 a.m. so that he and his wife can get ready for work.

“Running has become less of a priority than it was ten years ago, but it’s still something I care a lot about,” the 32-year-old says.

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Megan Hogan finishes the 2019 Boston Marathon. Photo: Justin Britton

Some people spend years training to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials, but George Washington alumna Megan Hogan did it twice before she ever got to run a marathon.

But eight years after she left D.C. to embark on a brief professional running career, Hogan finally ran a marathon, finishing Boston in 2:42:00 to qualify for the Trials for the third time. It followed a “pretty conservative” training cycle, and she is now eager to begin training for the trials and devote more of her focus to marathon training, in hopes of making it to the race without injury for the first time. She made the 2012 Trials with a 10k time qualifier and the 2016 Trials with a half marathon time.

The Ballston Spa, N.Y. native still maintains a relaxed approach to her running and nutrition, openly admitting that she sometimes misses training runs because of work deadlines she faces as an interior designer and regularly indulges in a glass of wine.

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Lindsay Carrick runs the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon. Photo: Charlie Ban

It took U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Lindsay Carrick two hours and 43 minutes (and 43 seconds) to run the Military World Games marathon in Wuhan, China. It took more than three weeks to find out her effort was good enough to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials.

But the course and race management checked out, and it made the fall and winter a lot simpler for Carrick, who had been aiming to run under 2:45 for two years.

Her coach, Patrick Gomez, said the Olympic Trials qualifying time was a larger goal, but he wanted her to be able to do well at the Military World Games without overdoing it. They had a backup race planned if needed.

“We went into the race saying let’s set ourselves up to be as successful as possible, and it just happened to be an Olympic Trials qualifying mark,” he said.

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Andrew Bumbalough trains in Oregon. Photo: Talbot Cox

Andrew Bumbalough’s marathon career began almost by accident. 

A professional runner for Nike since 2010, Bumbalough was training with the Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Ore. and focusing on chipping away at his 5K PR, aiming  to qualify for the Olympic and World Championship teams. But then one of his teammates was trying to make the 2012 Olympic marathon team, and he needed a pacer. 

So Bumbalough went to Houston to pace his friend, planning to run 10 miles. Except one of the other pacers had cramps and had to stop. Bumbalough, though, “felt amazing.” 

“I was running a 5-minute pace, I felt strong, I kept clicking off the miles,” said Bumbalough, 32, a 2010 Georgetown graduate. “I went all the way to 16 miles. I think my coach was impressed, but also a little irritated. That kind of planted a seed in the back of my mind that I could do a marathon at some point.” 

Now Bumbalough is hoping to earn a spot on the 2020 men’s marathon team when he competes in the Olympic Trials in Atlanta on Feb. 29. He finished as the fourth American in the 2019 Chicago Marathon, running a 2:10:56.

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