As I mentioned in the blog on Wednesday, Claudia Becque, 31, of Chicago, will be running in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Sunday on a criterium-style course in Boston. Here is a quick interview on what must be called a quick study in marathon running. When you improve from 2:58:28 at Berlin to 2:44:52 at Napa Valley in six months, you are on a fast learning curve. No need for any more accolades. . . here's Claudia.
Q: How are you approaching this race in terms of strategy and pace/time?
C.B.: I plan on approaching the Trials the way I approached Napa. I plan on going out conservatively and running my own race. I want to work with the other girls and run in a tight pack. This will especially be key if there are strong wind gusts. After the half, I hope to start moving up. If all goes well, I'd love a PR and to place high among the women!
Q: What about runing on a multiple-loop course?
C.B.: I am very excited about running a multiple-loop course. It allows the crowd to see the race unfold, which is very exciting. To be able to see where the other girls are during the race will also be very motivating. The course looks very flat which is great for me as Chicago is pancake flat.
Q: Do you know any of the other runners well enough to pace with them etc?
C.B.: I am very close with a couple of girls from California (Caroline Annis and Shaluinn Fullove). I trained with them a few times over the winter and we are all coached by Tom McGlynn. Caroline paced me, Shaluinn, and a few other women to the qualifying standard in Napa. Shaluinn and I will be running together from the start, but want to keep Caroline close as she is an amazing pacer. I am so grateful to have girls in the race that I feel comfortable running with. My other good friend, Dana Coons, will be attempting to make the team. I tease her often that I hope she doesn't lap me. It will be so exciting to watch her on the course. She has been such an inspiration to me!
Q: Will you have a support crew?
C.B.: I have such an amazing support crew. Some family members will be making the treck from Chicago to Boston to watch the race. All my friends from Fleet Feet, including Mark (Colpoys) and Coach Leach, my "C-team" I train with all winter long, my close friends from Chicago, and my coach, Tom, will be out there cheering! I also have a wonderful group of friends across the country that will be cheering online in their pajamas for sure My fiance Paul will be out on the course. I am sure he will see me every mile. Because of him is why I will be toeing the line with all these amazing women. He has been there to cook me dinner when I am just too tired, he bikes during the cold weather to make sure I stay on pace during my workouts, he understands that I need frequent naps, and most importantly, he always believes in me. I am so fortunate to have all these people in my life and to have them there on Sunday will be the icing on the cake.
Q: Anything else?
C.B.: I am just so excited to toe the line with all these amazing women on Sunday. I look forward to the experience! It will be a great weekend! I can't wait to cheer for my Fleet Feeters on Monday as they run the Boston Marathon! This is a dream come true!
All of us in the Chicago running community wish Claudia the best of luck on Sunday morning.