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MailTribune.com
  • Going the distance

    Medford runner 'on cloud nine,' qualifies for Olympic marathon trials in 2012
  • As a child, Liana Bernard fantasized about running in the Olympics. Last month, she came one step closer to realizing her dream.
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    • Two local men qualify
      for Olympic Trials marathon
      Two former prep runners from the Rogue Valley have qualified for the Men's Olympic Marathon Trials.
      Crater High School graduate Max King ran a 2:15:34 at the 2010 ...
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      Two local men qualify
      for Olympic Trials marathon

      Two former prep runners from the Rogue Valley have qualified for the Men's Olympic Marathon Trials.

      Crater High School graduate Max King ran a 2:15:34 at the 2010 Baltimore Marathon, placing him at No. 22 on the men's list.

      Eagle Point High School alumnus John Lucas is ranked 53rd after his time of 2:18:53 at the 2009 Chicago Marathon.

      To see the U.S. Olympic Marathon rankings, see www.usatf.org/events/2012/OlympicTrials-Marathon/entry/index.asp
  • As a child, Liana Bernard fantasized about running in the Olympics. Last month, she came one step closer to realizing her dream.
    Bernard, a 29-year-old Medford resident, placed third in the Rock and Roll Arizona marathon last month with a time of 2:42:27, well under the women's Olympic qualifying standard of 2:46:00.
    "After the race, I was on cloud nine," says Bernard. "Now, I've got to get as fast as I can in a year."
    The clock is ticking.
    The Olympic Trials marathon will be held in Houston, Texas on Jan. 14, 2012. The top three finishers in the trials will make the U.S. Olympic team. Bernard's time in Arizona places her at number 55 on the list of women who have qualified for the trials.
    To make the team, she'll likely need to chop at least 13 minutes off her time. That's a long way to go, but Bernard has come a long way in a short time. She's only been training for the marathon for a year and a half.
    "It took me five years to run again after college," Bernard recalls. "I went through a hard trial in '09, and running really gave me something to keep going and feel good about myself and give me a goal."
    On a whim, she perused the runnersworld.com website and found a training schedule. Then she showed up at a friend's house in Portland the day before the October 2009 Portland Marathon. Her friend's boyfriend, Joel Gordon, was a coach.
    "Liana truly did not have a clue how to approach the marathon, so we talked about how to execute a race plan," says Gordon. "She then ran 3:09:11 in her debut, and later that day asked me to coach her."
    Her progress since then, says Gordon, is nothing short of phenomenal. He believes she has the right ingredients to excel.
    "She's 4-foot-10, 95 pounds, she's very muscular," says Gordon. "She's got a small frame but a big engine and a really competitive attitude. You take all those ingredients and put them together and you get an ideal marathoner."
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