Much to our chagrin, the PRTC is not able to put on its fourth edition of the Battle Royale this October. Part of the reason is because a majority of athletes on the team are busy preparing for Fall marathons. The team is hoping to send as many guys and girls to the Olympic Trials as possible. One such athlete is second year runner Michelle Lillienthal. However, she already secured a qualifier with her big performance at Boston back in October.
Michelle would usher in the first of four marathons to be contested by our runners this Fall. And oh what a start she gave us! Michelle went in to the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon (which was being used as the U.S. Championships for the second straight year) in great shape. She was definitely looking to crack 2:40. As for the conditions, she said that “it was warm out by the finish, although the temperatures were cool for most of the race. There was also a decent headwind.”
Michelle ran patiently through the early miles, with her name not appearing on the early leaderboards which are calculated via athlete timing chips. But as the race progressed, so did Michelle’s rhythm. Passing many national class runners, Michelle made a charge at finishing well under 2:40. What is truly impressive is that despite Michelle’s phenomenal performance, she believes she has more to do. Michelle notes that her “last mile was a 5:33. I felt like I left a little too much. So I know I can run faster.”
Her fourth place position was secured with a 2:35.41 marathon! This time eclipsed her already-solid PR by five minutes! Michelle’s placing earned her a huge $9,000 payday and puts her on the short list for both next year’s World Half Marathon Championships in Osaka, Japan, as well as in to consideration for the U.S. team that will compete at the next Pan Am Games!
The team was absolutely psyched to hear of Michelle’s performance. Now we’re hoping the rest of this Fall’s marathons can produce some other big results for the team as well.