They say that running is 90% mental, and Dan Vassallo’s hunger to qualify for the Olympic trials at last weekend’s Philadelphia Marathon is a testament to that.
Having participated in several marathons, Vassallo was determined to qualify for the Olympic trials as his last goal of his running career. With the qualifying time at two hours and 18 minutes, his two hour, 17 minute and 28 second race time was enough to get him there.
As if achieving his goal of an Olympic trial qualifying time wasn’t enough, Vassallo also took first place in the men’s division at the marathon.
“I ran for the trials but winning was a pleasant byproduct of it,” Vassallo said after the 26.2-mile race, according to Philly.com.
The women’s division also turned out some Olympic prospects. The women’s marathon qualifying time for the Olympic trials is two hours and 43 minutes. First place finisher Leonora Petrina completed the race in two hours and 40 minutes to qualify. Lauren Philbrook finished in second place with a time of two hours 42 minutes and six seconds, also qualifying for the trials.
Perhaps even more shocking than completing a grueling 26.2-mile race in such little time, this was the very first marathon for 32-year-old Petrina. A long-time participant in half marathons, Petrina decided it was time for her to up her race distance after she found herself losing speed in the shorter races. It certainly paid off.
For both Vassallo and Petrina, the supportive crowd throughout the course of the marathon provided an extra boost. An estimated 60,000 people came out last Sunday to cheer on the more than 30,000 runners. From family members of racers to complete strangers, there was no shortage of support along the race course.
“They put on a great event here and the crowd was awesome, screaming and encouraging me along the way,” said Petrina, according to Philly.com.