Kara Goucher will contend for a spot on the U.S. Olympic marathon team on Feb. 13, 2016, at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles. Here are some fast facts about her.
Marathon PR: 2:24:52 (Boston, 2011)
Best trials qualifier: 2:37:03 (New York City, 2014)
Most recent marathon: 14th, 2:37:03, New York City, Nov. 2, 2014
Residence: Boulder, Colorado
Age on race day: 37
Previous Olympic trials results: third, 2012 marathon; second, 2008 10,000 meters; first, 2008 5,000 meters
Trials outlook: Since placing 11th at the 2012 London Olympic marathon, Goucher has changed everything. She moved from the Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Oregon, to Boulder, Colorado, returning to her college coaches Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs.
She is no longer sponsored by Nike, but by Oiselle and Skechers Performance. She’s had knee surgery and diet changes, and controversy regarding the summer when she and other former Oregon Project athletes and staff accused her former coach, Alberto Salazar, of acting unethically when it comes to prescription drug use. (Salazar denies the allegations.)
Amid all the transitions and turmoil, the most recent marathon she raced was New York in 2014, where she finished in 2:37:03 -- way off of her best performances. Goucher recently wrote in a blog entry that the Olympic Trials are “literally a last chance for me,” and that she feels she is in the kind of shape she was in before her son, Colt, was born in 2010.
In November, she won the Big Sur half marathon in 1:11:13, and in December she claimed victory at the San Antonio Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon in 1:11:10, indicating she is fit enough to contend for a top-three finish at the trials. Goucher is among approximately 10 women who appear to be on the threshold to compete for the third spot on the Olympic team behind overwhelming favorites Shalane Flanagan and Desiree Linden. Should she make it, this would be Goucher’s third trip to the Games.
“It’s really just not being intimidated, because it’s been a really long and lonely four years since the last Olympics, but I’m still the same athlete I was four years ago,” Goucher says. “Who knows? Maybe I’m even a little bit better because I’ve had more consistent training for once.”
Fun fact: In the past year, Goucher has experimented with her diet and moved toward a more plant-based nutrition plan. She’s had help from Lottie Bildirici, a health coach and nutrition counselor who temporarily relocated from New York to Boulder to prepare meals for Goucher during the lead-up to the trials.