Aug. 7, 2012
For immediate release
Former UC Davis standout Kim Conley, who competes for the Sacramento Running Association’s Elite Team, recorded a personal best Tuesday in the first round of the women’s 5,000 meters at the Olympic Games in London but failed to advance to the final.
Conley finished 12th in the second heat with a 15-minute, 14.48-second effort, well ahead of her 15:19.79 previous best set six weeks ago in her dramatic third-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.
U.S. teammates Julie Culley and Molly Huddle both advanced to Friday’s final. Culley finished fifth in the first heat in 15:05.38; Huddle placed fifth in the second heat in 15:02.26.
Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba led all qualifiers with a 14:58.48 effort. The 15th and final qualifying spot went to Italy’s Elena Romagnolo, who finished ninth in Conley’s heat with a 15:06.38 clocking.
Conley, 26, almost gave up competitive running after graduating from UC Davis. But her coach, Drew Wartenberg, encouraged her to continue. A $10,000 training grant from the Sacramento Running Association helped Conley step back from her assistant coaching duties with the Aggies and focus on reaching her potential.
At the Trials, Conley’s 15:19.79 performance edged crowd favorite Julia Lucas (15:19.83) and Abbey D’Agostino (15:19.98) and just beat the Olympic ‘A’ standard of 15:20:00 needed to compete in the Games.
Conley credits the Sacramento Running Association’s funding with helping her make the Olympic team. SRA executive director John Mansoor said his organization was happy to lend a hand.
“I think it’s a terrific use of our funds,” he said.
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 events include the California International Marathon, which celebrates its 30th anniversary on Dec. 2. Nearly 7,000 runners and more than 500 relay teams have already registered for the race.
Other SRA events include the Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon, The Super Bowl Sunday 10k Run and the Credit Union SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run.
SRA beneficiaries include the American River Parkway, youth fitness programs, local running venues and aspiring young runners.