Budd in elite company
Aspiring marathoner Desiree Budd listened to the elite entrants in Grandma's Marathon the last few years while attendingpre-race press conferences. On Friday, she was on the dais meeting the media along with other top women in today's 31st annual...
Aspiring marathoner Desiree Budd listened to the elite entrants in Grandma's Marathon the last few years while attendingpre-race press conferences.
On Friday, she was on the dais meeting the media along with other top women in today's 31st annual event.
Budd, 27, who grew up in Albert Lea, Minn., will be racing a road marathon for the first time and hopes to qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials by finishing in 2 hours and 47 minutes, or faster. Despite being something of a rookie, she has credentials -- winning the women's division of the 2006 Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon and placing 14th in the 2007 U.S. Half-Marathon Championships in January in Houston.
Now the former St. Scholastica runner is moving from 13.1 miles to 26.2.
"Mentally, it will be very challenging," said Budd, a physical therapist living in Mankato, Minn., who has a half-marathon best of 1:15:33.
She'd like to run as fast as 2:39 today.
However, Budd says this isn't her first Grandma's Marathon. After her senior year at Albert Lea High School, she had a volleyball-playing friend talk her into entering the 1998 race because the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon was full.
Budd, 18 at the time, finished in 5:04:40 and said the experience wasn't pleasant.
The most notable look at Friday's press conference for elite men was Belgium's Rik Ceulemans with a Mohawk haircut and a Nike swoosh cut into the back of his head. He can also run, recording a best of 2:13:42 in 2003.
Ceulemans, 34, who will wear No. 7, also says he has a diet often consisting of Coca-Cola and pizza. He'd like to run 2:12 or faster and be chosen for Belgium's 2007 World Championships marathon team. A time of 2:09 would get himconsidered for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
"Running a fast time means the right moment at the right time,'' said Ceulemans.
Former two-time Grandma's Marathon women's winner Irina Bogacheva has returned to racing after working the past two years as general secretary of the Athletic Federation of Kyrgyzstan.
Bogacheva, 46, would like to better her 1997 winning time of 2:38:44. She won in 1995 in 2:34:11.
"Those wins were in the last century. I'd like to have a win in this century,'' she joked.