Celebrating The First Olympic Marathon Trials in Olympia, Washington


The 40th Celebration of the first marathon Olympic trials for women kicks off later this week on May 18, 2024. We have some great panelists in Olympia this weekend who will speak at a Saturday celebration event.                                                                       

The full lineup of speakers of speakers are below. The registration link is here: Inspiring Generations: Celebrating the First Women's Olympic Marathon Trials (runsignup.com). I am moderating panel 3 if you want to stop by and say hello.

The event is being held at the Olympia Ballroom at 116 Legion Way SE in Olympia, Wa.

Panel 1: The History of Women’s Running

Moderated by: Karen Fraser

Karen Fraser is well-known in the South Sound area for her commitment to public service. She served six terms as a State Senator and held key leadership roles in environment and recreation, government transparency, and women's rights. Before serving in the Legislature, she was elected Thurston County Commissioner, Lacey Mayor, and City Council Member. She is now retired. She served on the Executive Committee of the Trials organization in 1984. An outdoor recreation enthusiast, she completed the Capital City Marathon twice and participated in numerous 10Ks. She has backpacked throughout the Cascades and Olympics and has summited four of Washington's major glaciated peaks. Additionally, she has skippered her sailboat in many races and cruises on Puget Sound. She is proud of our community for successfully hosting the historic first-ever US Women's Olympic Marathon Trials in 1984.

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Joan won the first women’s Olympic marathon trials and then won gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics. She held the fastest time for an American woman at the Chicago Marathon for 32 years and at the Boston Marathon for 28 years and is a two-time Boston Marathon Champion. She was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000. She continued to set records as a masters runner. Since 2014, she has served as a coach to women’s cross-country and long-distance athletes, and she is also a motivational speaker and sports commentator. In 2024, she received her Six-Star Medal after completing all World Marathon Majors.

Desiree Linden

Des is an accomplished American long-distance runner, famed for her historic win at the 2018 Boston Marathon, where she became the first American woman to clinch the title in 33 years. Her exceptional athletic career includes representing the USA at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the women's marathon. Linden further distinguished herself by setting a world record in the 50K, becoming the first woman to break the three-hour mark in this event. Recently, she competed in the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials and returned to her favorite event, the Boston Marathon. Off the track, she shares her insights and experiences in her book “Choosing to Run” and co-hosts the podcast “Nobody Asked Us” with fellow Olympian Kara Goucher.

Jacqueline Hansen

Jacquelin is a trailblazer in women’s long-distance running. She is celebrated for her victory at the 1973 Boston Marathon and for becoming a two-time world record holder in the marathon, making history as the first woman to break the 2:40 mark at the Nike-Oregon Track Club Marathon in 1975. Fittingly, in 1984, she qualified for the first-ever women's Olympic marathon trials. A fervent advocate for women's rights in athletics, she served as the president of the International Runners Committee, where she played a crucial role in lobbying for the inclusion of the women's marathon in the Olympic Games. Although her international class-action lawsuit against the IOC to include the 5,000 and 10,000-meter races for women did not result in these events being added to the program for the LA Olympics, the 10,000m was eventually included in the Olympics in 1988, and the 5,000m subsequently, marking a significant victory in her advocacy efforts.

Cheryl Treworgy(née Bridges)

Cheryl is a pioneering figure in women's marathon running, notable for being the first woman to break the 2:50 barrier at the 1971 Western Hemisphere Marathon. Her running career began in high school, where she initially trained with the boys' track team due to the absence of a girls' team. Treworgy then earned a scholarship to Indiana State University, where she excelled by representing the U.S. on five world cross-country teams and securing a fourth-place finish at the 1969 International Cross-Country Championships. After retiring from competitive running, she transitioned into coaching and later became a sports photographer. Through her lens, she captured the athletic journey of her daughter, Shalane Flanagan, an Olympic medalist and NYC Marathon winner.

Laurel James, Aka the Godmother of Green Lake

Laurel is a cornerstone of the Seattle running community. With a modest sum of $10,000 and encouragement from renowned runner Steve Prefontaine, she founded Super Jock ‘n Jill, a sporting goods store specializing in quality running shoes. Laurel not only transformed her store into a hub for runners by hosting timed runs around Green Lake but also became the first sponsor of the Seattle Marathon. Her visionary approach extended to conceptualizing the bid for Olympia, WA to host the 1984 Women's Olympic Marathon Trials. Collaborating with key figures like US Senator Slade Gorton, Laurel successfully secured the bid, beating out cities such as New York (represented by Fred Lebow and the New York Road Runners Club), Buffalo, Los Angeles, and Kansas City. Olympia’s win was considered a huge upset, attributed to Laurel’s determination and drive.

Panel 2: What’s Your Why?

Moderated by Jesse Stevick

Jesse teaches chemistry and coaches track and field at Olympia High School. He has an amazing wife, Jenny, who wins marathons while homeschooling their seven children and assistant coaching the OHS girls' cross-country team, among many other generous pursuits. They met while running cross-country and track & field at Whitworth University and have continued to enjoy running and competing, winning a combined 13 Capital City Marathons. Jesse, along with his four siblings, helps their father, Drew, put on all-comers track meets in the summer and coaches the Barron Park Striders youth track and field team, which was started by Drew to encourage activity in youth and foster an appreciation for competition and personal growth.

Linda Huyck

Linda is a distinguished local athlete and coach with a 30-year tenure in high school cross country and track. Her running career began in elementary school and extended through high school, evolving as she joined Club Northwest in Seattle. Over the years, Linda earned two Masters National Championship team titles with the club. A significant accomplishment was competing in the 2000 Olympic marathon trials. Additionally, she won the Capital City Marathon 3 times as a masters runner. As Linda fondly recalls, a personal highlight of her career was meeting her best friend 28 years ago, sparked by a conversation about a running watch she was wearing, illustrating the profound personal connections fostered through her running journey.

Peggy Kokernot Kaplan

Peggy started running as a way to keep up with her mother, who was running as a coping mechanism for the challenges of single parenthood. During her college years, the enactment of Title IX marked a turning point, leading her to establish the first women's track team at Trinity University. Her determination propelled her to qualify for Nationals in the 880-yard dash. Peggy transitioned to marathon running, culminating in a notable victory at the Houston Marathon and participation in the 1984 Olympic marathon trials. In a pivotal moment in 1977, Peggy carried the torch over a remarkable 16 miles as part of a relay from Seneca, NY to Houston, TX, marking the commencement of the National Women's Conference where the Equal Rights Amendment for women was drafted. Her remarkable journey carrying the torch earned her a place on the cover of TIME Magazine.

Ellen Hart

Ellens is an accomplished woman who has balanced motherhood, academics, law, and athletics. She graduated from Harvard University and the University of Colorado Law School. During her time at Harvard, she earned 8 varsity letters in soccer, basketball, and track and field. Her athletic prowess extended into long-distance running, and she competed in the Olympic marathon trials in 1984. Ellen’s challenges with an eating disorder were publicly shared in the made-for-TV movie, “Dying to Be Perfect: The Ellen Hart Peña Story,” a narrative that brought significant attention to the issue. This personal experience drove her to co-found the Eating Disorder Foundation. As a masters athlete, Ellen has made remarkable achievements in running, triathlon, and duathlon, securing 18 world championships and 3 national championships in multisport, including first-place finishes in her age group at the Ironman World Championship. She was also named Athlete of the Year in 2008 and 2015. Beyond her sporting accolades, she is a mother of three, a new grandmother, and a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) working with abused and neglected children.

Karen Steen

Karen is a local runner with deep roots in the community, having resided in the area for 58 years. A standout athlete during her high school years at Timberline High, she was honored with an induction into their hall of fame and crowned athlete of the decade. Karen still holds the 100m high hurdle record at her alma mater and boasts a two-time All-American title from her college years. She competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic marathon trials and clinched an impressive total of nine national championships as a master. Additionally, Karen had outstanding success at the Capital City Marathon, where she triumphed an impressive 7 times. Beyond her running achievements, she pursued a successful teaching career until her retirement in 2022. She is a mother of three and enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling.

Angela French

Angela was raised in Tacoma, Washington. She began running in college at the University of Puget Sound (UPS). Angela was a walk-on to the university's cross country team and was recruited for the track team, where she excelled for three years, setting a number of school records. She received the Alice Bond Award for Most Outstanding Female Athlete and was inducted into the UPS Athletic Hall of Fame. After graduation, Angela moved to Arizona where she competed as a professional triathlete from 1981 to 1986. She also competed on a national level in USCF bicycle road racing and mountain bike racing while continuing her love of running. Angela made her mark by competing in the 1984 Women's Olympic marathon trials and went on to qualify for and run in the next five Olympic marathon trials as well. In 2016, she was inducted into Arizona's Running Hall of Fame.

Panel 3: Inspiring Generation, the Future of Running

Moderated by: Coach Larry Weber

Larry is an accomplished and experienced coach who has achieved success at various levels. He has coached several individual high school state champions, high school state championship teams, U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers, and Capital City Marathon winners, including local runners Karen Steen, Linda Huyck, and Susan Havens—an American Masters Record holder—along with post-collegiate elite runners at the professional level. As a runner, Coach Weber was a USA-ranked miler, a two-time Big Sky 800-meter champion and record holder, a state high school champion, and the winner and record holder of the Original Ultimate Runner Competition (including a 10k, 400 meters, 100 meters, a mile, and a marathon, all run on the same day). He also ran a time of 4:00.10 in the mile, an event in which he primarily competed towards the twilight of his career.

Sally Edwards

Sally is a distinguished figure in athletics, entrepreneurship, and motivational speaking. Her illustrious athletic career includes running in the 1984 Olympic marathon trials and completing over 250 races, among them over 150 Danskin triathlons and 16 Ironman Triathlons, where she once held the master's world record. In addition to her athletic pursuits, Sally is the CEO and Founder of Heart Zones, Inc, a company dedicated to increasing physical activity through technology. She is also a best-selling author, having penned several influential books, and a serial entrepreneur known for founding the renowned specialty running store franchise, Fleet Feet. Sally’s contributions to sports and her community were recognized when she was inducted into the Triathlon Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Sacramento Running Hall of Fame in 2016.

Rich Brown

Rich is well known in the running community for his personal achievements and commitment to coaching the next generation of athletes. A standout runner during his high school years at Tumwater High School, he set the record in the 3200m, with a time of 9:10. Rich earned a scholarship to Montana State University, where he consistently excelled in varsity cross country track and graduated with a double major in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training & Health and Physical Education K-12. After college, Rich pursued a professional running career, competing for Adidas, and achieved a half marathon best of 1:03:54 and qualified for the 2000 U.S. Olympic trials in the marathon with an impressive time of 2:21:52. Rich has been an inspiring coach for over 27 years, the majority of which was spent at Tumwater High School, where he coached one of the strongest cross country and track teams in the state. Rich was inducted into the Tumwater Athlete Hall of Fame in 2014 and continues to be highly active in the community, coaching local athletes.

Sara Lopez

Sara is an accomplished amateur runner. Though she competed in track and cross country during high school, Sara did not continue competitive running in college. Instead, she set a personal goal of qualifying for the 2024 US Olympic Marathon Trials—a lofty ambition she realized at the 2023 Eugene Marathon. She won the race and qualified for the trials with an impressive time of 2:33:48. Sara has continued to make strides in her running career by competing in the prestigious 2024 Boston Marathon, where she placed 25th overall among females and 7th among American women. Beyond her running prowess, Sara maintains a professional life as a market research analyst. She balances her demanding training schedule with personal interests and enjoys spending quality time with her husband, Sam, and their pet cockatiel, Giannis.

Jack and Nancy Daniels

Jack and Nancy are an American running power couple, best known for their coaching excellence. Daniels’ “Running Formula,” published in 1998, has long been a premier tool for coaches and runners worldwide. Jack Daniels innovated the use of VDOT starting in the 1970s, along with his colleague James Gilbert, which has been used by runners and coaches globally to determine proper training paces based on race performances. Jack has held coaching positions nationwide, starting in Oklahoma in the 1960s, then in Texas, Arizona, and Oregon, before settling in New York, where he coached NCAA DIII SUNY Cortland to 8 National Championships over 19 years. Jack is also an athlete in his own right, having competed in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games in the Pentathlon, winning silver and bronze medals, respectively. Nancy is an accomplished athlete, having participated in Olympic trials for the 1500m and the marathon. She also worked at Nike as a research assistant. They are closely tied to the 1984 Women’s Marathon Olympic Trials, having worked with Joan Benoit Samuelson during Jack’s tenure at Nike. They have witnessed firsthand the evolution of the sport of running, and we are delighted to have them join us.

Coach Weber