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Macsas has eyes for Olympic marathon

Brom Hoban
Allison Macsas

Allison Macsas has proven she's one to watch for at the 10K distance.

A winner at the IBM Uptown Classic last fall, and second by just three seconds to Desiree Ficker in the Statesman Capitol 10,000 last week, Macsas now has her eyes on a bigger challenge: the Olympics.

Cap 10K. Olympics. Seems like a leap.

And yet, this 25-year-old has experience in taking unconventional routes.

A native of Denton, north of Dallas, Macsas was planning to attend the University of Texas. Then she met University of Tampa track coach Jarrett Slaven, who convinced her that running for a Division II school would be a good move for her.

Macsas went on to be an All-American, one of the best runners in the school's history.

"It all kind of came together there," says Macsas, who graduated in 2005. "I started off only running about 35 miles a week, but when I doubled my mileage to 70, I dropped a minute and half off of my 5K and ran a 17:20 ."

That increasing mileage fed an inner interest in the Olympics. Now, in preparation for the Olympic marathon trials in January 2012 in Houston, she's shooting for an Olympic qualifier at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn. , on June 19.

"I've heard a lot of good things about Grandmas. It's flat and fast, and the weather is usually cool," says Macsas.

Now competing on Team Rogue Elite, Macsas centers her life around running. She coaches when she's not training. "I've gotten up to 95 miles a week, and may go as high as 120 as I prepare for the marathon," she says.

At Grandma's, Macsas will need a 2:47 or better to qualify for the Olympic trials, and she has the wheels to do it. She recently ran a 16:50 5K at a track meet at Rice University, showing that her speed is where it needs to be.

"Allison's strength is her mental toughness and racing maturity," says her coach, Steve Sisson. "And biomechanically, she's built like a marathoner.

"She's a hard worker and a consistent worker. Her goal is to get the qualifier, but my goal for her is to have a good solid first marathon. I want her to get a feel for the distance, because this is something she's going to be great at. The marathon is such a mental game, so it's important to have a good first one.

"So many elite athletes think they need to run a great marathon right away. But it's important for her to learn how to deal with it, emotionally and physically first."

"I've never run one before, so I don't know how I'll handle it mentally," says Macsas. "But I do better as the races get longer."