For Bailey Drewes, a clinical research coordinator in the Division of Nutritional Sciences & former BHS Lumberjack Female Athlete of the Year in 2011, competitive running offered not just exercise but camaraderie.
Drewes & her training partner, Chelsea Benson, ran during middle school, high school and college, but didn’t feel they found their niche – or their community – until they started running marathons.
“I never ever would have imagined that I’d qualify for the Olympic trials,” Drewes said. “I didn’t feel like I reached my full potential in high school or college – I think I’ve always been a long-distance person. Running the marathon, I finally found where my heart was.”
Since qualifying for the trials – which, for women, requires running the 26.2-mile event in 2 hours, 45 minutes or faster – their goal has shifted to reaching the more elite “A” standard, requiring a 2:37 time. Their passion for marathon running reflects a nationwide trend: 511 women qualified for the 2020 Olympic marathon trials, compared with 198 in 2016.
They’re also active members of the local running community. Benson is among the organizers of a local Facebook group, Ithaca Runners, open to anyone in the area who is interested in running.