Owensboro native Jamie Adkins has qualified for the USA Olympic Trials in the marathon, finishing just under the cutoff time in the California International Marathon held Sunday in Sacramento.
A 2012 graduate of Daviess County, Adkins crossed the finish line in 2:44:48 — with just 11 seconds to spare. The final runner to qualify on the day, Adkins said she was blown away by the atmosphere she experienced at the finish line.
“When I crossed the finish line there was a huge group there to greet me and congratulate me,” Adkins said. “The atmosphere was incredible and it still seems unreal that I qualified. During the race, as it donned on me that I might actually be able to qualify, I knew I just had to keep pushing.
“Miles 22 and 23 were the hardest for me, and that’s when a lot of runners fell off the 2:45 pace group that I had been running with. By mile 24 I started to believe I could hit my goal again, and the last two miles are still kind of a blur.”
Adkins said that although she is incredibly proud to be in the same category as the best athletes in the country, qualifying for the Olympic Trials was not her original goal.
She graduated in 2017 from the University of Southern Indiana with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. Upon returning to Owensboro to begin her professional career, Adkins started training with PRoject Rise with the hopes of running a marathon fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Shortly after joining the training group, Adkins met PRoject Rise founder Dylan Hammons, who encouraged her to set sights on the Olympic Trials.
“I ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and succeeded in qualifying for the Boston Marathon,” Adkins said. “Soon after, I moved to Colorado and met a bunch of great runners out here.”
Once Adkins began training at elevation in Colorado Springs, she felt like her goal of qualifying for the Olympic Trials was as possible as ever. However, a frustrating race week in Boston threatened to slow her down.
“In March I ran the Boston Marathon, but it wasn’t as exciting as I hoped it would be,” Adkins said. “The week of the race I got strep throat and had to battle unusually hot temperatures and sickness just to finish. I was nowhere close to setting a personal record and it really had me discouraged. Thankfully, a few great friends encouraged me to try one more time, which led me to register for the California International Marathon.”
With reinvigorated drive, Adkins turned attention toward the Olympic Trials one last time. After knocking out a half-Iron Man this summer, she spent the better part of six months training to accomplish her latest dream.
With that now behind her, Adkins is focused on training for the Olympic Trials, which are set to take place in Atlanta on Feb. 29.
“Honestly, I just want to soak in all the great moments that I’ll experience in Atlanta,” she said. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to run with some of the best athletes in the world. It will be a true honor.”
Running on a hilly course in a much warmer climate, Adkins feels that the Atlanta marathon will be more of a victory lap than a focus on improving her personal record. At any rate, she knows she will be running with the full support of Owensboro on her side.