Sometimes joy and disappointment come calling in the same marathon. Just ask Folsom’s Kevin Pool.
The Sacramento Running Association Elite Team member delivered a personal best effort of 2 hours 19 minutes and 34 seconds in the Twin Cities Marathon on Oct. 2. He also missed qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials by 34 seconds.
Pool, 28, felt both ends of the emotional spectrum after crossing the finish line.
“I was obviously happy to run a P.R. there,” he said. “That being said, it was pretty disappointing to be so close.
“I felt like I ran a really good race.”
Pool stayed on pace to attain the 2:19:00 qualifying standard for 23 miles, then lost just enough time on the hills in the closing miles to miss out on a trip to Houston for the 2012 Trials on Jan. 14.
At least for now. Pool’s backup plan includes a trip home to visit his parents in Gettysburg, Pa. before running in the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 20.
The goal: run 2:19:00 or faster.
“I felt like the fitness was there to warrant giving it another shot,” said Pool, who ran 2:19:54 at the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon in San Diego in June.
“My sister ran that (Philadelphia) race a few years ago. It’s pretty flat. It should be a reasonable setup for running a good time.”
Pool figures he’ll get some help, too from a half marathon field starting at the same time as the marathoners.
“The difficult thing at my level is finding people to run with,” he said. “The first half of the race, there should be people running the half (marathon).”
Pool said he’s had plenty of people ask why he doesn’t just run the California International Marathon on Dec. 4 in Sacramento. The CIM course is fast and slightly downhill, and typically cool weather enhances the prospects of shaving time.
But Pool works as an event manager for the Sacramento Running Association, which puts on the race, so he’ll be busy making sure everything goes smoothly for others on race day.
“All my friends are like, ‘You’ve got to run CIM,’” he said. “That won’t work for me.
“I feel like I’m close. I feel like I was in good enough shape on the right course to run the
Pool, who went to high school in Maryland and earned Division III All-America honors in track and cross country at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., wanted to run in the 2008 marathon trials, too.
He ran 2:31 in his debut marathon in Las Vegas in 2005 and lowered his time to 2:24 in Chicago a year later. But a coaching job at Thiel College in Greenville, Pa. limited his training, so he never attained the old 2:22 standard.
Now, though, he believes he belongs on that Olympic Trials starting line in Houston.
“It’s definitely been a goal of mine for five years,” Pool said. “You don’t want to let it dominate your thinking. At the end of the day, if I don’t make it, I still ran a couple of 2:19 marathons this year
“If you asked me a couple years ago if I’d run a 2:19 marathon, I probably would have laughed at you.
“I feel like if I can get there, I can be competitive. It’s just one of those things that really pushes you to see what you’re capable of doing.”
Pool is no slouch at shorter distances, either. He ran 1:06:30 to finish 24th in the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in January and has run a 29:32 10k and a 14:15 5k.
With a Master’s degree in sports management, Pool is a welcome addition to the Sacramento Running Association.
“He is an excellent example of what SRA wants to build,” said John Mansoor, the SRA’s executive director. “Help runners develop and give them jobs in the running world.”
The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.
SRA beneficiaries include the American River Parkway, youth fitness programs, local running venues and aspiring young runners.
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