May 29—TRAVERSE CITY — Dot McMahan destroyed one target and came up excruciatingly short of another goal.
The 45-year-old distance runner crushed the Bayshore Marathon women's course record with a 2:37:13, breaking Joanna Stephens' 2019 mark by more than six-and-a-half minutes.
"My goal coming in was to run under 2:37, so I got pretty close," McMahan said. "A couple seconds off."
The new Olympic trials qualifying mark of 2:37 is a minute less than the previous standard.
Stephens ran a 2:43:46 in 2019, but Saturday's perfect weather conditions for running and McMahan's desire to get back to the Olympic marathon trials for a fourth time ended up shattering that mark. McMahan qualified in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020, placing in the top 10 twice, something accomplished by only her and Deena Kastor at the time in 2012.
She's staying in Traverse City with fellow Hansons-Brooks Project athlete Des Linden, who joined McMahon and Kastor with multiple top-10 trial finishes. Linden is a two-time Olympian and 2018 Boston Marathon women's winner.
Saturday marked McMahan's first Bayshore, and she didn't disappoint.
"It's rolling, and I liked that it was quiet for a long time," McMahan said of the Bayshore course up Old Mission Peninsula and back. "Then you start hitting the half marathoners and it gets really loud and you can't concentrate. It's like Boston. You can't hear your heartbeat or anything. And then it got quiet again. And that was nice. And then as you're coming back, you're going through the crowd of half marathoners and as people realize who you are, they start cheering for you."
McMahan, a 1999 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate, moved to Michigan in 2005 and resides in Rochester Hills.
"I love Wisconsin, but I definitely feel like a part of Michigan," McMahan said. "I definitely was hoping to get an Olympic Trials qualifier in Michigan, but this race doesn't qualify for it, but I decided to go ahead with it anyway."
McMahan said she may run Boston next spring, but that depends partly on what happens with the Olympic Trials qualifier. She's run Boston five times before, and Saturday's time easily qualified her for the most famous running race in America.
"Because I'm from Michigan and a lot of these are Michigan runners, I felt like I at least recognized a few people and they were able to call out my name during the race, which is cool," she said. "You don't always get that in some of the bigger races around the country."
McMahan placed 48th at the 2005 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Canada and competed in the marathon at the 2013 World Championships in Russia.
Bayshore women's runner-up Kathryn Fluehr also entered the race for her first time, although she did run the Festival of Races 5K at the National Cherry Festival each year of high school.
The 28-year-old Boulder, Colorado, resident went to high school in Naples, Florida, and ran at Princeton, earning Ivy League runner-up honors twice in the indoor 5,000 meters and outdoor 10,000.
"My family's been coming out here for 20 years," Fluehr said. "And my aunt, uncle and cousins live up here year-round in Leland. It's a very special place. I'm just really happy to be out here."
A cross-country athlete at Princeton, Fluehr said she ran her first marathon last December and had a rough go of it. She decided to run more conservatively this time around, especially after throwing out her back running this winter in Colorado's snow and getting very sick in March.
She cut nine minutes off her time, finishing in 2:40:37.
"I'm just really grateful to be healthy," said Fluehr, whose twin sister Erika ran the first 10 miles alongside her. "The course out there is so beautiful. My family lives on Lake Michigan over on that side. I could just stare at the lake for hours and hours."
Sydney Devore won the half marathon in 1:16:57 over Christina Walter (1:20:23).
Sarah Waraniak took the 10K title in 39:47, with Ana Corby runner-up in 40:35.
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