Jan. 13, 2012
BERKELEY - The Golden Bears will be well represented at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Saturday in Houston with four former members of the Cal track & field team vying for spots on the squad - 2008 Olympian Magdalena Lewy Boulet, Brooke Wells, Bolota Asmerom and Giliat Ghebray.
Racing begins with the men's start at 8 a.m. CT (6 a.m. PT), followed by the women at 8:15 a.m. CT (6:15 a.m. PT). The flat course features a 2.2-mile loop through downtown Houston, then three eight-mile loops that is expected to produce fast times.
The top three finishers in each race, subject to the final approval of the U.S Olympic Committee's board of directors, will represent the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where the marathon will be run on a similar three-loop course.
Lewy Boulet enters the competition with the third-fastest time in the women's field, having posted a time of 2:26:22 at the 2010 Fortis Rotterdam Marathon. She earned a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team with a second-place finish at the trials in Boston, crossing the line in a then-lifetime-best 2:30.19. Unfortunately, Lewy Boulet sustained a pre-race injury while in Beijing for the '08 Games and was unable to complete her race.
While a runner at Cal, Lewy Boulet earned All-America honors with a third-place finish in the 5000-meter run at the 1997 NCAA Championships (16:04.86). On Cal's all-time performers list, she continues to rank second in the 5000 and is fifth in the 3000 (9:25.93).
Wells, who ran for the Bears in the mid-2000s and graduated in 2006, qualified for the 2012 trials with a time of 2:37.29 at the 2010 Chicago Marathon. More recently, she recorded a lifetime-best 1:16 in the San Jose Rock-n-Role Half Marathon.
Asmerom represented Eritrea in the 5000 meters at the 2000 Olympics and still owns the Cal record in the 5K (13:31.88) from 2001. Now a U.S. citizen, he earned his berth in the field with a half-marathon qualifying time of 1:03.06. He made his marathon debut in 2008 with a 10th-place showing at the New York Marathon (2:16.37).
Ghebray enters Saturday with a qualifying time of 1:03.38 in the half-marathon. His best season at Cal came in 2007 when he ran collegiate PRs of 7:56.51 in the indoor 3000 and 13:42.16 in the outdoor 5000. In 2005, he finished eighth at the Pac-10 cross country meet.
NBC will broadcast two hours of same-day coverage from 12-2 p.m. PT.