Laura Thweatt went to London aiming to improve on her breakthrough success from the 2015 New York City Marathon.
She did that in a big way Sunday morning.
Thweatt, a 2007 Durango High School graduate, competed in her second major marathon, and the result is exactly what she wanted. She placed sixth overall in the elite women’s field on the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 38 seconds. She accomplished her goals of a top-10 finish and a new personal best time. To finish in that time, Thweatt averaged 5 minutes, 34 seconds per mile.
The result was 8:38 behind champion Mary Keitany, who set the women-only marathon world record in 2:17:1.41. That mark broke the previous record set 12 years ago by Paula Radcliffe.
Thweatt, 28, finished seventh at the 2015 New York City Marathon. She finished that race in 2:28:23.
In both major marathons she has started, Thweatt has finished as the top American woman. Kellyn Taylor of the Northern Arizona Elite Club finished 13th in the women’s elite race in 2:28:51 as the only other American in the field.
Thweatt, who is sponsored by Saucony, lives in Boulder and is coached by Lee Troop. The two have refocused her career on the marathon distance following last year’s Olympic track and field trials. The former cross country national champion is now aiming for the 2020 Olympic Games in the marathon distance, and she hopes to compete in all major marathons before the end of her running career.
As a still young distance runner, that career is only beginning.
“I definitely want to do all the majors at some point in my career, and I see myself as a marathoner going into the next four years,” Thweatt said in a pre-race interview with The Durango Herald. “After New York, I was talking to Lee a couple months later about marathons. Going into 2017, he asked me what got me excited and which race I would like to do. I’ve never been to London, so I thought if I was able to get in and experience a marathon on that level it would be perfect with Lee’s history there. The international stage excites me.”