Even as a master’s division runner, Eric Loeffler continues to impress by showing his talent, endurance and commitment as a runner.
Now 40, the former North Dakota State University trackster, and longtime Fargo resident, Eric lives and trains in Minneapolis.
He returned to one of his favorite races, the California International Marathon, this past weekend, where he finished in 2 hours, 17 minutes, 34 seconds. Looking at the statistical breakdown of his race, a couple amazing numbers stand out: Eric averaged a 5:16 pace for the race, and he continued to move up positions at every checkpoint.
The mark was tops in the master’s division and qualified Eric for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. It marks the third such qualification for him. Previously, Eric competed in the 2012 and 2016 marathon trials in Houston and Los Angeles, respectively.
Coincidentally, the Cal International was the race where Eric qualified for the 2012 marathon trials. And this year’s race puts him among a rare and distinct group of runners to have qualified for 3 U.S. marathon trials. Someone could run the numbers, but historically speaking, there are very few to qualify for the marathon trials twice. He’s now done it 3 times.
Earning the right to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials takes talent. To do it 3 times, though, is commiting yourself to excellence — a reflection of grit, stamina, commitment, sacrifice and discipline to live, eat and train as an elite.
It’s also further evidence that runners don’t have to be defined by age. Other elites, notably Shalane Flanagan, who won the New York City Marathon last month at age 36, and the recently retired Meb Keflezighi, who turned 42 earlier this year and has won both the New York City (2009) and Boston (2014) marathons.
Congrats, Eric, on another milestone.
The full list of men’s qualifiers for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials can be found here.
Read other blog posts about Eric:
Jan. 18, 2015: Run for the Trials
Dec. 4, 2011: Olympic Qualifier
Above photo was taken during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles.