Penn nurse creates buzz on the road to Olympic Trials

Running has been in Penn Medicine nurse Samantha Roecker’s blood since heart school, nonetheless she not at all envisioned herself racing neck to neck with prime expert athletes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Until now.

Roecker’s personal doc at the California International Marathon in Sacramento, California, in December has positioned her to compete with completely different Olympic hopefuls at the 2020 Olympic Trials in Atlanta on February 29, 2020.

She accomplished in third place at 2:30:25, which moreover doubled as the USA Track & Field (USATF) National Marathon Championship.

“It was a surreal moment. It is rare, those satisfying moments when all your hard work pays off,” she knowledgeable PhillyVoice.

Roecker’s effectivity in Sacramento has created a complete lot of buzz. According to Runner’s World, Roecker’s finish not solely improved her earlier marathon PR by eight minutes, it moreover meant she is the 12th-fastest woman presently licensed for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

And as she continues to improve her velocity and energy, she stands to give Olympians like Molly Huddle and Amy Cragg a run for his or her money.


Growing up in Charlton, New York, Roecker, 27, started working monitor in seventh grade, and continued to improve her velocity in highschool at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School in Burnt Hills, the place her cross-country workforce gained two New York state titles.

She went on to compete under coach Ray Treacy at Providence College, nonetheless not at all had aspirations to be educated runner, focusing instead on her nursing career. After shifting to Washington for a grasp’s program in world properly being at Georgetown University in 2014, she was really taking a break when a go to with associates to see the Boston Marathon that 12 months impressed her to start working marathons.

At first, she did it just for pleasant. She ran in the 2015 Boston Marathon and set a personal higher of 2:53:52, nonetheless it wasn’t until she clocked in at 2:45:29, placing 19th common at the New York Marathon in 2016 that she realized competing professionally is probably not such a pipe dream in any case.

“I surprised myself and it sparked a flame in me to start training,” she acknowledged.

Carroll - The Doctor is Out Samantha RoeckerThom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Samantha Roecker is presently ranked 12th-fastest female marathoner in the United States and has licensed for the Olympic Trials in 2020. Here, she runs alongside the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia.


Distance working is aggressive in the United States. The road to the Olympics begins with qualifying to compete in the Olympic Marathon Trials, with the prime three female runners competing in the Summer Games. To qualify, runners ought to acquire an “A Standard” time (2 hours and 37 minutes) or a “B Standard” time (2 hours and 45 minutes).

According to USATF tips, athletes with an A Standard time typically have their Olympic Trial payments paid for whereas these with a B Standard time can compete, nonetheless have to pay their very personal means. But this 12 months, the Atlanta Track Club has agreed to pay payments for all runners in the 2020 trials.

In October 2017, at a marathon at the Hartford Marathon in Connecticut, Roecker really licensed for B Standard with a model new PR of 2:38:14, nonetheless then blew that time away when she flew all through the finish line in Sacramento.


When it comes to her teaching, Roecker focuses on consistency. To observe for the Sacramento marathon, she ran twice day-after-day 5 days per week and labored on her core at the health heart – all whereas working full-time as an aotorhinolaryngology nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Most weeks she runs from 100 to 110 miles per week, a dedication aided by dwelling in Center City, not faraway from the hospital.

The biggest downside she faces, Roecker acknowledged, is teaching spherical a full-time job. While a complete lot of expert runners can observe full-time due to sponsorships, she has to run sooner than or after work, no matter the local weather..

She acknowledged though that each one these early, late and snow day runs are worth it when she is prepared to acquire her personal biggest.

She expects to observe at the related depth when she gears once more up in the fall in preparation for the Olympic Trials. Treacy, her former coach, has been working collectively along with her remotely, creating teaching routines for her

“Running is simply part of me at this level. It could be very releasing to have this carved out time separate from the remainder of my life,” she acknowledged.

But working is usually a social time on account of a number of her associates and her boyfriend are runners, too.

“Female distance running is at its peak. I wouldn’t put myself in the Top 3 but I will be in a good position to be competitive in that race,” she said. “It is a dream to just make the trials.”

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