N.J. marathon runner qualifies for U.S. Olympic Trials

Monday, 04 December 2017, 08:54:48 AM. Roberta Groner, 39, was the 2nd place female finisher Sunday at the USATF Marathon Championships in California

Prominent N.J. runner Roberta Groner secured a spot at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials with a 2nd place finish among women Sunday at the California International Marathon.

Groner, 39, finished the 26.2-mile race -- host of the 2017 USATF Marathon Championships -- with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 37 seconds.

She shaved about six minutes off her finishing time seven months ago at the Boston Marathon.

"I feel fabulous," Groner said afterward when contacted by phone, adding, "I'm still kind of in shock."

Her finishing time in California met the threshold for participating in the next Olympic Trials.

Groner will be 42 when the 2020 Olympics are held in Toyko.

Asked about the possibility of making the U.S. team, Groner said, "It's a long way away, but my goal will be to be in the best shape I can be in."

Groner is a nurse at Summit Medical Group. Since moving from Pittsburgh to Randolph three years ago, the mother of three has established herself as one of the state's top runners.

In April, Groner finished the Boston Marathon with the fastest time among 587 from New Jersey, and was 16th overall among women in the race.

From there, she turned her focus to qualifying for the Olympic Trials.

Her coach, Hector Matos, said Groner trained for Sunday's marathon by running between 75 to 85 miles per week.

Matos and a friend, Laura DeLea, were watching in Sacramento as Groner approached the finish line trailing only Sara Hall, wife of U.S. Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall.

Groner later stood with Hall, the winner, and third-place finisher Carrie Dimoff on the podium, all wrapped in U.S. flags.

About 11,000 people ran the California International Marathon, from the start at the Folsom Dam to the finish near the State Capitol building.

Groner will receive a $12,500 prize for her second-place finish and another $1,500 for qualifying for the Olympic Trials, according to the marathon's website.

Rob Jennings may be reached at rjennings@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobJenningsNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook 

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