ATLANTA, G.A. (WECT) - The Tokyo Olympics are less than six months away and three Wilmington women are hoping to make Team USA at the US Olympic Marathon Trials at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta this weekend.
While these ladies may not have a realistic chance to win or even place in the top three, they are more than ready to show the world what Wilmington is all about.
"I've been coaching for 15 years and you develop tools in ways that are going to get people to the next level. And I think it's any coaches dream to be able to receive athletes such as these three," Coach Tom Clifford said.
Peyton Thomas is excited to be in the presence of everyone competing and hopes to make the top 50.
"I don't know if that's in my sites or not, but I guess we'll see," Thomas said. "That's the goal in my head so that's what I plan on going for.”
Brittney Perkins and Erin Hogston are both looking at the race as a celebration of all that has already been accomplished.
"I guess it just really hasn't affected me. We are all here, we all have the cut off time," Perkins said. "Am I going to run 20 minutes faster and the top three? Probably not. But I wanna have a good race and I want to show up tomorrow and be strong."
Hogston ran three different marathons before finally reaching the qualification standard of 2 hours and 45 minutes, making the cutoff by a mere 30 seconds at the Houston Marathon. Although she wore her body to the bone after the effort, she says it's all been worth it.
"To be able to actually toe the line with some of these girls who I would've never in 1 million years," Hogston said in awe.
Hogston’s goal is to just finish the race. Knowing how hard she’s worked to get there will be a true celebration of the grittiness of making an Olympic Trials.
It's an extremely rare event for any athlete to ever make an Olympic trials, much less three from Wilmington in the same year. Also rare, for the first time since 1996 the Olympic torch will be lit in Atlanta, but only for the three hours during the race.
You can watch the Olympic marathon trials Saturday, Feb. 29, noon to 3 p.m. on WECT. Jordan Hasay, Des Linden and Emma Bates are expected to battle for the three spots on the women’s side.