MAUMEE, Ohio (WTVG) - Mackenzie Chojnacky has three marathon finishes on her running resume. In marathon No. 3, the former University of Toledo runner qualified for the 2020 United States Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta.
"When I crossed the line, I was like, 'Really,'" Chojnacky said, "and the girl behind me was crying and it was just kind of cool. It was kind of anticlimactic a little bit, but then I was like, 'Geez, I just had a really good race.'"
Chojnacky qualified at the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn., in June with a time of 2 hours, 42 minutes and 34 seconds. The standard female runners need to meet for this year's race is 2:45. Chojnacky actually set her half marathon person record in the Grandma's Marathon as she passed the 13.1 mile mark in 1:19:34.
This is surprising because typically runners do not set a half marathon personal best while racing a marathon. Before Chojnacky ran her first marathon, she thought the half marathon distance was a long race.
"My fiancée Brooke Tullis, she kind of got me started into (marathon training)," Chojnacky said. "So just training with her got me into it, kind of got me stuck into the race."
This race in Atlanta is not Chojnacky's first national level race.
In 2014, she raced in the steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championship for the Rockets.
Today, Mackenzie is now stuck in the middle of a training plan which has the former Rocket running about 70 miles per week. She says if she runs more than 70 miles per week, her body is not happy.
"With the injuries and just kind of battling the mental aspect of it, it's hard," Chojnacky said. "Sometimes you race a marathon and you get halfway and you realize it's not going to happen."
Chojnacky does not just roll out of bed each morning and devote her days to training. She balances running at this level with her full time job at Kingston in Perrysburg as a Wellness Coordinator.
Qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials might be best described as someone from the general population qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
"I'm trying not to think about time," Chojnacky said. "I'm just trying to think about being competitive with everyone there. If I beat a bunch of other women there I'll be really happy."
The race is February 29, 2020 in downtown Atlanta.