Sports

Local runners eye Olympic trials

It might feel like the Olympics just happened, but for athletes aiming for the 2012 stage, the process has already started.

Earlier in October, former Mercer Island resident Donovan Fellows, who graduated from Mercer Island High School, qualified for his second Olympic trials during the Twin Cities marathon in Minneapolis. Fellows completed the race in 2:18.04 to finish ninth overall. The 31-year-old averaged a 5:17 mile pace during the Oct. 3 race.

Mercer Island resident Susan Empey barely missed the cutoff to qualify for the trials, after finishing the Chicago marathon in 2:46.59 on Oct. 10. The 2012 women’s marathon cutoff was 2:46, but in previous years the cutoff had been 2:47.

“They fiddled with the time,” she said of the cutoff being lowered. “It’s gradually gotten lower. Obviously, I’m disappointed. Chances are, I’ll try again. I think I can do it.”

A big factor for Empey was the much warmer Chicago weather, which hit the mid-70s during the later portions of the race.

“That’s 10 to 15 degrees warmer than we’re used to here. It slowed me down. I tacked on 15 seconds to each mile from where I wanted to be,” said Empey.

Empey said that she will probably give making the trials another go, but probably won’t seriously think about it until she stops feeling this most recent attempt.

The 2012 trials will be held on Jan. 14, 2012, in Houston, a day before the 40th annual Houston Marathon. Both the men’s and women’s races will be held there — the first time that both trials are being held in the same city. The top three men and women at the trials will make the Olympic team.

Fellows qualified for the trials in 2008, running the marathon in New York, but missed the cutoff for the Olympic team.

Other Mercer Island racers who ran in the Chicago race include: Margaret Byerly, who did it in 6:30.34, and Brandon Fellows, who ran it in 2:43.52.

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