Emily Holtzclaw competed in her first marathon on Sunday in the Go! St. Louis Marathon in downtown St. Louis. The Highland native executed her race strategy so well that she finished the 26.2-mile race in 3 hours, 31.30 minutes, which was well within her goal time and qualified her for the prestigious 2019 Boston Marathon.
"Everything about today and my race went so well, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience," said Holtzclaw, who is a senior at Washington University in St. Louis.
The former cross country and track standout at Highland High School has been training since mid-December and built her training up to about 50 miles a week with a maximum long run of 22 miles. She initially wanted to run under 4 hours, but her training was going so well that she decided to adjust her goal to be under 3:40.
"My plan for the race was to split it into three parts," Holtzclaw said. "I wanted to run the first 10 miles pretty easy, maintain or go slightly faster for the second 10 miles and then see how I felt with six miles left and try to pick it up. My second-half marathon was 4 minutes faster than my first, so I think I executed my plan pretty well."
Right now, Holtzclaw said she is just excited to take a week off from running, but she was quick to point out that she is open to running more marathons in the future.
"I’m not sure when my next one might be, and I was so surprised when I realized I qualified for the 2019 Boston Marathon, so now I’m definitely considering it," she admitted. "I’m just so thankful I had my family and friends to support me throughout all my training and on race day and that I’m able to do something I enjoy so much."