The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

October 17, 2013

Mankato runner has sights set on Olympic Trials

Runner hoping to one day qualify for Olympic Marathon Trials

Lindsay Henkels could qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials on Sunday, but she suspects that won’t happen.

Another day, though. Another race. She’s determined to make it.

“You can qualify by running a half-marathon, but they make it pretty damn difficult,” said Henkels, who will compete in the Mankato Marathon’s half on Sunday. “You have to run a 1:15 (1 hour, 15 minutes). For me, that’s fast. You have to get wings or something. This will be more of a tuneup to see where I’m at.”

The 33-year-old Mankato native has her sights set on the California International Marathon, which will take place Dec. 8 at Sacramento. She ran that full race last year, setting a personal record of 2:50. She’ll need to shed more than 7 minutes off that time to meet the qualifying standard for the 2016 Trials.

To get ready for that, she’ll run in her hometown race this weekend. A year ago, she took second in the Mankato half with a time of 1:19.33, a little more than 2 minutes behind winner Dani Stack, another Mankato native.

If that’s not running with wings, it must be just a few feathers short.

“My goal is to be aggressive,” said Henkels, who took third place in 2011. “Make it hurt.”

Nine and a half months ago at Sacramento, Henkels survived 30- to 40-mph headwinds at the start and a downpour that flooded the intersections and still ran the fastest marathon of her life. She was the 16th female finisher and placed 100th overall among more than 6,500 finishers.

“It was fun,” she said.

Henkels (nee Feder), a 1998 Mankato West graduate who ran track and cross country in high school and cross country at the University of Minnesota, never thought she’d be a high-level marathoner one day. When she was an eighth-grader and then-Scarlets coach Greg Schmidt asked her to try distance running, she couldn’t imagine jogging just a few kilometers.

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