Lauren Stroud

Lake Jackson resident and Brazoswood alum Lauren Stroud posed Sunday after finishing the Chevron Houston Marathon.

Lake Jackson resident Lauren Stroud has been a mainstay on the road-racing circuit since childhood, collecting first-place trophies in most local 5Ks. But her accomplishment this weekend will put her on the national stage.

Stroud ran the Chevron Houston Marathon in 2 hours, 44 minutes and 29 seconds Sunday to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta.

“It was pretty awesome. There was a pacer (2:45:00) and I decided to run with them, but there were a lot of people that grouped together,” Stroud said. “Around mile 20 I knew I could make it, and it just really felt great qualifying.”

The 28-year-old’s journey to qualifying was a tough one, including missing a chance to qualify Nov. 16 in the Richmond Marathon.

“It was bad. The wind was against me and I just hit a wall,” she said. “I could barely even finish the race because my legs just wouldn’t work anymore in the last 50 feet.”

She finished that race in 2:50:20, five minutes past the 2:45:00 needed to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials for women. So she worked harder.

She would run 20 miles with 5-mile splits, running at a pace faster than her marathon target. Stroud also did a training program through the Houston Marathon that helped build her pace for longer distances.

Her family was a big help for her as well.

“My husband is always encouraging me. He would go up to Surfside and ran on the bridge with me,” Stroud said. “I also have a 18-month old that I push around in her stroller and she really loves it, and that helps, too.”

Being able to look back on her finish Sunday compared to the Richmond race, she could feel the difference.

“It was my last chance to do it, and to be honest, it almost felt too easy. It was hard, but it didn’t feel as hard while I was running,” she said. “My legs hurt really bad now, but I’m glad I was able to make it.”

Now that she’s qualified, Stroud is not as worried about making it to the Olympics as she was the Olympic Trials.

“Maybe I would get into the top half, but I’m not too worried about qualifying for the Olympics,” Stroud said. “I just wanted to qualify for the trials.”

The Olympic Marathon Trials will be Feb. 29 at Centennial Olympic Park. The top qualifying time belongs to {span class=”table-cell-content”}Jordan Hasay, who ran a{/span} {span class=”table-cell-content”}2:20:57 in the 2017 Chicago Marathon.{/span}

Marqus Williams is a sports writer for The Facts. You can contact him at 979-237-0161.

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