Deena Kastor, the world’s most successful Jewish runner, has earned her ticket to Beijing by winning the US Olympic Marathon trial.
Kastor, 35, entered the race as favourite but found herself in a chasing pack, falling steadily behind surprise leader Magdalena Lewy-Boulet. After 14 miles Kastor trailed by almost two minutes, but from that point she closed in on Lewy-Boulet and overtook her with two miles remaining.
“It was a tough race,” Kastor said. “I thought I had misjudged it based on how strong Magdalena looked at every turnaround.
“I tried to stay relaxed and keep a strong pace but I was worried that I might not get this title.”
Kastor finished the race with a flourish, grabbing an American flag and waving it in the final run-in. Her finishing time was 2:29, 10 minutes slower than her American record set when winning the London Marathon in 2006.
The victory earned her $50,000 and a third consecutive Olympic berth.
At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Kastor took bronze with a superbly-judged performance.