Updated 03/12/2013 06:31 PM
Professional runner trains to go the distance
She lives and trains in DeWitt, but this local long distance runner has her sights set on the next summer Olympics in Rio. Getting there will take lots of preparation. Maegan Krifchin, who started as a middle distance runner has shown she's up for the task. Our Iris St. Meran has more on her journey and her impressive resume despite being fairly new to the long distance game.
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DEWITT, N.Y. -- Maegan Krifchin has always been involved in sports. Growing up, she quickly found her passion for running.
Krifchin said, "We played a lot of soccer when I was a kid and I was always the fast one on the field, a little speedy."
That need for speed continued as a middle distance runner in high school and through undergrad at SU and her graduate studies at Ithaca College. She's looking to go farther.
Her eyes are now on the prize, an Olympic one. Her professional goal is to compete in the marathon during the 2016 games. She took to the longer distances right away, with a fifth place finish in her first ever half marathon, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia.
"I didn't really think about where I was going to place and it was a nice surprise to finish that high and run a fast time like I did," Krifchin reflected.
And that time was 71:04. Her average pace is about 5:20 per mile.
She didn't stop there. Last June, Krifchin ran a personal best of 70:56, finishing second behind an Olympian at the USA Half-Marathon Championships in Minnesota. That earned her a spot in the World Half Marathon Championships in Bulgaria. There she finished as the top American in 13th place.
Her running coach, John Aris, says this is a combination of natural ability and hard work.
"She's got the heart and spirit of a champion and I think she's got a good chance of making the Olympic team in 2016,” Aris added. “Coming from the middle distances, she's got a short speed that certainly plays to her advantage. At the longer distances, she's got tremendous endurance."
Aris coaches her as part of the Stotan Racing Team. Krifchin, 24, is the only woman on the team, but that doesn't intimidate her at all.
Krifchin said, "I have the personality, I get along well with them. It doesn't scare me. I think we kind of work similarly and think about training the same way. Take the same approach."
When she isn't running, she works part-time during the day as an occupational therapist at St. Joseph's Hospital, but at night, she's back at it. Her next race is this weekend: The New York City Half.
As a Long Island native who now lives and trains in DeWitt, she's happy her family and friends will be there to cheer her on as she strives to beat her personal best.
"I just want to be competitive with within the field. There's a good group of women up there and I definitely want to be up there with them," said Krifchin.
She's already proved hard work can take her there, beyond that extra mile.
To learn more about Maegan Krifchin's journey, visit stotanracing.com and www.nyrr.org.