For most runners, qualifying for the Olympic Trials is a career goal. But for one math teacher from St. Johnsbury, it happened at her second marathon.
For most runners, qualifying for the Olympic Trials is a long-term dream. For 28-year-old Meagan Boucher, it happened in her second marathon.
On October 21, 2018 the St. Johnsbury resident qualified for the 2020 Olympic marathon team trials after setting a women’s course record in the 30th annual Baystate Marathon in Lowell, Mass.
Boucher ran the course in 2:42:23.7, shattering the previous course record of 2:45:36.
To earn a spot at the Olympic Trials, she had to finish with a time of 2:45:00 or less. Boucher beat her only other marathon time (the 2017 New York City Marathon) by 15 minutes.
Boucher, who grew up in Manchester, N.H., teaches geometry at St. Johnsbury Academy and is the assistant coach for the cross-country team. In her first year at the University of New Hampshire she earned a spot on the cross-country team as a walk-on and competed in middle distance events and steeplechase.
She became interested in running marathons after a running injury caused her to shift her focus to triathlon. “It really opened me up to the routine of training for two, three hours a day. But then I realized that what I really cared about in those races was the running leg,” said Boucher in October.
Her initial goal was to run a sub 2:50:00 marathon. “Then I asked my coach, Sam Davis, if I should just go for it. He was apprehensive at first, but then we had a conversation and he said I should,” said Boucher. Davis, a well-known coach from Burlington, helped her to develop a plan to pace herself such that by the halfway mark of the marathon she would be on pace to qualify for the Olympic Trials. “I didn’t think I’d beat it by two minutes,” said Boucher. “I was shocked by how I did.”
Boucher finished the race in 20th place overall. Burlington resident Scott Mindel, 32, was the overall winner with a time of 2:23:51.2.
The 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials for marathon will run on February 29, 2020 in Atlanta, Ga. Between now and then, Boucher says she plans to focus on her speed. “I may run the Boston Marathon this spring.” She says she’s excited to get back into training, but for now, is “really excited to be eating donuts and recovering.” Her favorite place to run near her home of four years is the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.