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June 19, 2019

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Former BHS track standout qualifies for 2020 Olympic marathon trials

Ann (Stechschulte) Alyanak third overall woman at Illinois Marathon

Former Bluffton High School track standout Ann (Stechschulte) Alyanak completed The Illinois Marathon as the third overall woman with a time of 2:43:00, and qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Trials. The April 28 marathon was held in Champagne, Ill.

This is the third time Alyanak has qualified for the Marathon Olympic Trials. She finished 7th overall at the Olympic Trials her first time around back in 2008.

Alyanak and her husband, Ed, live in the Dayton area with their children, Eddie, Thomas, and Emily. She is a 1997 graduate of Bluffton High School and a 2001 graduate of Purdue University.

Mary Pannabecker Steiner, of the Icon, caught up with Alyanak following her recent marathon.

Steiner: How many marathons have you completed?

Alyanak: I have completed 9 marathons.  I took a 6 year break from 2011 to 2017 when we had our second son and daughter.

Steiner: When did you run your first marathon? What prompted that interest in the longer distance?

Alyanak: My first marathon was Columbus in 2002.  I had just finished competing in college and just wanted to experience the marathon.

Steiner: How did you feel during the Illinois marathon? Did you know exactly where the other women were ahead and behind you? Were you pleased with your time?

Alyanak: I felt really good during the Illinois marathon.  My splits were very consistent and right on where I wanted them to be.  I ran with another woman for the first 19 miles and we really helped each other.  The last few miles were tough but I knew I had the qualifying time as long as I stayed strong and that kept me going.

Steiner: What routine do you follow to prep for a marathon? Do you run with others or by yourself?

Alyanak: For the marathon I follow a training plan that my husband, Ed, put together years ago when I was running by best marathons.  I get in the long hard runs and other pace work needed to help me hit my goal time.  I can’t run as many miles now as I did in my prime but I make sure to get the key workouts in.  The majority of my training is done alone but I was able to get a few long runs in with friends.

Steiner: When are the trials? What would that involve in terms of time, travel, etc.? What others have you competed in?

Alyanak: The trials are Feb. 29, 2020, in Atlanta.  I’ll be in serious marathon training mode starting in December of 2019. I ran the 2008 trials in Boston and started the 2012 trials in Houston but dropped out due to a foot injury.

Steiner: How do you balance raising children and running?

Alyanak: I don’t find it too hard to fit my training in with 3 kids.  The kids know that Ed and I are going to get our workouts in and it is normal for them.  I either run early in the morning before they wake up or I can run at our local y while the youngest is in their child watch.  I use the treadmill a decent amount too.

Steiner: Who is your coach? Do you run with a club?

Alyanak: I’ve pretty much been coaching myself with input from Ed.  He used to do all my training plans but I’ve done it for so long I pretty much know what I need.  He will still give me some key workouts and help tweak things.  I don’t run for a club.

Steiner: I understand that you’re now a SMART Coach. What does that mean? How many clients do you have?

Alyanak: I coach with the Run SMART Project.  It is an online training program where you can receive individualized training plans.  I currently have 10 clients. 

Steiner: So...what's next?

Alyanak: I’m not completely sure what’s next.  I’m going to focus on shorter races like 5k, 10k for the summer and probably try and run a fast half marathon in the fall.  I plan on running one more marathon before the trials but I don’t know which one.  I’m just going to enjoy the running and racing and have fun with it!