Three former Chico State distance runners have recently achieved the qualifying standard for the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon.
Lindsay Tollefson, who graduated in 2008, Alia Gray (2012), and Kara Lubieniecki (2011) have all qualified for the trials.
Tollefson guaranteed her spot on the line with her 2-hour, 41-minute, 31-second personal record at this December”s California International Marathon in Sacramento. Her pace per mile was a 6:09 clip and landed her well under the 2:43.00 standard needed.
Gray and Lubieniecki, who have been nearly inseparable since coming to Chico State as freshmen in 2007, qualified for the trials at the U.S. Half-Marathon Championships this past weekend in Houston. Gray finished ninth overall in 1:13.34, while Lubieniecki crossed the line 10th, just four seconds behind her roommate and training partner. Their pace for the 13.1-mile race was 5:36 per mile and their overall mark was well under the 1:15.00 time standard needed to qualify for the trials.
For Tollefson, a Chico native and Pleasant Valley High alum, this will be her second trials marathon, as she competed in the 2012 championship race in Houston. While an athlete at Chico State, Tollefson (then Nelson) was the 2007 California Collegiate Athletic Association 10-kilometer champion, eventually finishing the same season with a 10th-place NCAA Division II 10k finish. She was also a part of the 2007 Chico State women”s cross country team that finished fourth at the NCAA championships, where she placed 46th overall. Tollefson and husband Tim (who also ran in the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon), reside in Lincoln, and they both run for the Sacramento Running Association. She has also picked up support from Brooks Running.
Lubieniecki came to Chico State from Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Colo. On the track, Lubieniecki was a two- time All-American in the 1,500 meters, while also capturing two CCAA crowns (2010, 2011) in the same event. She owns the Chico State school record for the 1500 (4:27) and is the third-fastest 5k runner in school history (16:33). In cross country, Lubieniecki was a two-time All-American and three-time All-Region runner. During her senior year in cross country, Lubieniecki won the 2010 CCAA title and finished her season with a 16th-place NCAA run. After graduating from Chico State with a near 4.0 grade-point average, Lubieniecki moved home to Colorado and joined Brad Hudson”s training group in Boulder. She has since moved to Boulder and started graduate studies at the University of Colorado in integrative physiology and is a part of the Saucony Hurricane team.
Gray, a native of Santa Rosa and graduate of Maria Carrillo High, was the 2011 and 2012 CCAA champion in the 5,000 and a two-time All-American in the 10,000. Her 34:31 stands as the Chico State school record for the 25-lap race. She was also the CCAA cross country champion in 2011, and was a two-time All-American in that discipline. After a year of post-collegiate training and racing back home in the Bay Area, Gray made the leap to Boulder this summer to rejoin Lubieniecki and now trains under the watchful eye of coach Brad Hudson. She has also picked up a Brooks shoe sponsorship and runs under the umbrella of the Sacramento Running Association as well.