“It may be the 2018 USATF Marathon Championships, but my camera isn’t the least bit interested in the race at the front of the pack. It’s only focused on the women about fifteen minutes back from those racing for national glory. You see, back here, we are going to witness nurses, insurance agents, television producers, and women from all over America chase an Olympic Trials Qualifying (OTQ) B standard.
That is the goal for countless women toeing the line on this perfectly cool and calm Sunday morning 42.2 km’s north east of the state capital in downtown Sacramento, CA. A line that is less than a mile from the Folsom Dam holding back 1.205 cubic KM’s of water from flooding the California International Marathon (CIM) course with the same amount of collective energy that taper time has bottled up in these runners.
Two hours and forty five minutes of camaraderie, shared support, and good old fashioned teamwork. My camera isn’t watching a race unfold, it’s watching magic explode with every step from this powerful group of women, as they work together to earn a spot at the Olympic Trials in Atlanta.
The marathon doesn’t begin at the start line however, and desire for an OTQ certainly didn’t manifest this morning. The marathon starts long before any of these women tossed and turned in their hotel rooms last night, or even before their training cycles started for today’s race 12, 16, or 18 weeks ago. For Carly Gill, the quest for an OTQ begins with an innocuous direct message (DM) on Instagram the day after she breaks three hours for the first time at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon.”