TRAVERSE CITY-- For the first time, the Bayshore Marathon had USA Track and Field Association (USATF) sanctioned status. The sanction makes the Bayshore Marathon a qualifying standards marathon for participants wanting to earn entry into the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Three runners would qualify Saturday morning, two men and one woman. The time to beat for men is 2:18:00 and 2:37:00 for women.
For men’s winner, Zach Ripley, this was his second-straight Bayshore win. He clocked in at 2:16:35.
“I think it’s a chance to just be appreciative that we can do these kinds of things, and everyone comes out and gives it a good effort. And sometimes it comes together, and sometimes it doesn’t. So when it does, we got to be thankful for those moments. And so that’s, that’s what it is certainly for me,” Ripley said after the win.
From Rockford, Ripley and his family vacation in Traverse City each year around this time which brings his whole family to Bayshore. His wife, mother-in-law, and two sister-in-laws ran the 10k Saturday.
As for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualification Ripley earned, things seem up in the air.
“Don’t expect too much else. I like to do this kind of stuff. And as long as my body’s gonna be able to, I’ll keep coming out and doing it. Whether I get any faster or not, is up to up to a hope and a prayer, but it’s certainly something I enjoy. And so you’ll see me around these kinds of events in Michigan area,” he said.
As for 24-year-old women’s winner Hannah Becker, hitting the mark for the Olympic Trials has always been her biggest goal. She just made it, finishing in 2:36:57. She ran cross country and track for Wheaton College before transferring to Grand Valley State University’s program. After her race, she was extremely thankful to those who had coached and believed in her while at both programs.
Saturday was her second-ever marathon.
“I gave it what I had. And I’m just so thankful that it was enough to qualify for the Olympic trials. Qualifying has always been a goal for me. Just like my top tier running goal that I’ve ever had and honestly, it’s kind of like, Wow, it’s so so hard to believe. When I crossed that line, just in my head. It’s like, ‘Did I do it that I do it?’ And to just know that I had that opportunity is a dream come true,” Becker said.