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Laura Harnish Qualifies for the US Olympic Trials 2016

A big congratulations to Lady Hound Laura Harnish who recently ran the Chicago Marathon in an Olympic Qualifying time of 2 hours 42 minutes and 9 seconds! She was the 18th overall woman and will be traveling to LA in February to represent The Pittsburgh Pharaoh Hounds at the U.S. Olympic trials


I recently had the opportunity to talk to Laura about her training leading up to the race, how she felt during the marathon and her feelings about qualifying for the Olympic Trials.


Pre-race:

“Training this past summer was tough! I know we all experienced the same heat and humidity, so I shouldn't complain, but it made me question the kind of shape I was in. The pace I was running was so off what I wanted, I wondered if it was a pipe dream to actually be in shape to run 6:13s by October. I was really lucky to have some great Hounds to train with; Kate H, Jen, Jamie, and Steve K suffered through the heat with me during many a long tempo run. I started at Pitt this fall, so that was my priority and running kind of took the back burner. Of course, I was still doing the workouts, it just wasn't my top priority. All this made me pretty nervous going into the week of the marathon. Talking to friends and my coach, and looking over my logs helped me reassure myself I was ready.


During the race:

I actually had as much fun during this race as any I've done. There were a lot of women shooting for sub-2:43 (the OTQ) so I had a lot of folks to run with and key off of. I tried to maintain a consistent pace, and ended up with pretty even splits, running 6:11 ave. overall. I was so happy to have my family and some college friends on the course, cheering like crazy for me at probably 10 locations! That's a huge boost. By halfway, I knew that my legs were capable, and that it was just my mind that might mess things up. I got a huge boost from knowing that I was on pace to make it to the trials, so when 22-23 rolled around and I felt horrible (as predicted), I was able to stay focused.


Post-race:

I'm ecstatic, and just really enjoying the feeling of having years of hard work pay off by achieving this goal. When I started working with my coach 3 years ago, I was a mid-2:50s runner, and my goal seemed like a long-shot. It's great to have years of tough workouts, and some disappointing races, lead to a day where everything came together perfectly. I'm super excited to head to LA and represent the Hounds along with the best marathoners in the country!


Please join the Hounds in celebrating Laura's outstanding achievement!


Maranie R. Staab