By Emilie Chau
PHHS Class of ‘10 alumnus and current pharmacy student Joanna Reyes not only finished in fourth place for females in the Los Angeles Marathon on March 19 but also was the first American woman to finish with a time of 2:37:56. The Los Angeles Marathon starts at Dodger Stadium and ends at the Santa Monica Pier, totalling a 26.2 mile course. More than 24,000 athletes representing over 60 different countries participated in the marathon.
Although it was only her third marathon race, Reyes additionally managed to improve from her personal record by 13 minutes and was awarded $4500 for her outstanding performance.
“Running the Los Angeles Marathon has definitely unlocked my true potential and has shown me that I am capable of more than what I ever thought possible!” comments Reyes.
In order to prepare for this event, Reyes ran 80 miles a week during her winter quarter at her school, Loma Linda University of Pharmacy. Her dedication and perseverance shined when she continued to train with persistent knee pain and after dealing with a food poisoning incident in late January.
Her time of 2:37:56 would qualify Reyes for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials but since the qualifying window opens September of this year, Reyes has to run another marathon under 2:45 after September in order to qualify.
“I never imagined to run a marathon at 6:02 per mile pace,” admits Reyes. “In fact I remember 10 years ago as a sophomore at PHHS when I thought running one mile at 6:02 was difficult!”
As previously mentioned, Reyes is also a pharmacy student. Running 8 to 10 miles every morning makes it difficult for her to stay awake and attentive in class but she always motivates herself with her goal to do well at the Olympic Marathon Trials.
For those who aspire to be a world-class athlete like Reyes, she has a few words of advice.
“Always, always believe in yourself and with hard work and persistence, keep reaching for your goals!” encourages Reyes.
Reyes plans on participating in the Los Angeles Marathon next year as well.