Last Saturday afternoon, Megan Curham ’18 toed the starting line at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Los Angeles with about 200 of the top female distance runners in the country.
The prospect of running 26.2 miles on a hot day in an elite field didn’t faze her.
“I really did not expect to be running Trials for the marathon as I am focusing more on the 10K later this year,” Curham wrote in an email. “While I do some fairly long training runs, the marathon distance was a step up, but I approached it as a fun way to orient myself to running with such phenomenal competitors, and maybe to prep me to run the race in earnest some day after graduation.”
And although Curham didn’t complete the race — she developed a cramp after 17 miles and didn’t want to risk injury by pushing too hard — she thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“The race was actually great,” Curham said. “So many people cheering along the route and such fanfare. It is definitely a great spectacle. I also got to see Princeton alums Sarah Cummings [’11] and Carrie Dimoff [’05] before the race.”
Dimoff placed 40th, finishing in 2:44:58, while Cummings was close behind in 53rd (2:47:55).
Curham, a two-time cross country All-American and the 2015 Ivy League champion in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, is taking the year off school, dividing her time between two internships and training.
“I am working now on the clinical side at a veteran’s hospital and on the business side as a marketing and public relations intern at a small health food distributor. The exposure has really helped me narrow my focus and will be a great benefit in steering the courses and the junior and senior year projects I will work on when I get back to Princeton in the fall,” said Curham, who is majoring in psychology.
Curham qualified for the marathon trials by running a winning time of 1:14:29 at the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in Florida in January. As a lifelong fan of all things Disney, the result was doubly sweet.
“It was a blast. I knew going in that the marathon trials cut was 1 hour 15 minutes, and kept an eye on my watch the whole way because I wanted to see if I could achieve that. It was exhilarating to make the final turn to the finish and see the clock still well under my goal time. And to be greeted by Donald and Goofy – it can’t get better than that!” says Curham.
With the marathon trials behind her, Curham is now focusing on the 10,000, hoping to make the Olympic trials cut for that event as well. “That would be my ultimate goal!” she said.