A 16-year-old Charlotte girl took one significant step towards her dreams of being an Olympic marathoner Saturday morning.
Alana Hadley, a junior at Ardrey Kell High School, finished the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in 2 hours, 41 minutes and 56 seconds to become the youngest qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in almost three decades.
The mark to beat to get into the event is 2:43. She is the third Charlottean to come in under it in fewer than three weeks; Laurie Knowles, 36, and Stephanie Pezzullo, 31, both qualified for the Trials at the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 13 (with times of 2:36:29 and 2:38:03, respectively).
In Hadleys debut marathon this past May in Cleveland, she developed a hamstring issue early in the race and finished well off of her goal, in 2:58:22.
But on Saturday, everything came together.
I was shocked at first, Hadley said of seeing her time on the finish-line clock. I just stood there with my hand over my mouth. Then it hit me that I had accomplished my goal. ... Thats when my eyes started to tear up. I am beyond happy and excited.
Hadley who does not run for her high school track or cross-country teams in order to focus on road racing and longer distances is coached by her father, Mark.
I cant put into words just how proud (her mother) Jenny and I are ... of Alana, Mark Hadley said.
His daughter is the youngest qualifier for the Olympic Trials since Cathy OBrien, who competed in the 1984 edition and ran a 2:34:24 at age 16.
In addition to Indianapolis turning out the youngest qualifier for 2016 so far, it also produced the oldest: Colleen De Reuck, a four-time Olympian who is 49, was the female winner Sunday in 2:39:22.
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