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Colorado Springs woman qualifies for Olympic marathon trials while working full-time

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Runner at dawn, occupational therapist by day, then runner, again, by night -- that routine sums up Jamie Adkins' life, and she says it's worth it considering it's taking her to the Olympic Trials.

The Kentucky native moved to Colorado Springs roughly two years ago because she loves the outdoors. A long-distance runner in college, Adkins met up with several running groups who encouraged her to run her first marathon. She quickly qualified for the Boston Marathon before those same friends encouraged her to try for an Olympic Trial qualifying time.

"At first I was kind of worried I would be one of those people that wouldn't do well in altitude training," she said. "It took maybe like a year to get used to the altitude, I would say. But now, it's good. I enjoy it."

She's also enjoying the benefits of her hard work. At the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December, Adkins ran 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 44 minutes, 58 seconds, qualifying for the Olympic Trials with just two seconds to spare.

"That's a little closer than I thought it was going to be," laughed Adkins. "I think I just started bawling. My dad was like, 'Aren't there any happy pictures of you?'"

The time wasn't shocking for Adkins, who knew she had a realistic goal, but she would have been as shocked as anyone if someone told her she would be an Olympic Trial qualifier just a year ago.

"Oh, absolutely not. No; wasn't even something that crossed my mind," said Adkins.

Anyone who runs a marathon in under 2:45:00 gets to run at the Olympic Trials in Atlanta on February 29. But unlike many professional or semi-professional runners who complete the marathon at such blazing paces (6:17/mile in Adkins' case), Adkins doesn't have a sponsor. She doesn't have a coach. And she works full time, as an occupational therapist at Child Development Center in Colorado Springs, even while running 80 to 90 miles per week.

"My day starts anywhere from 4:45 to 5 a.m.," said Adkins, "working long days, very busy days."

"Marathon training, in general, becomes all-consuming," she said.

Karen Biggs works with Adkins. She's not just a co-worker but part of her large in-house fan crew who is very proud of Adkins' accomplishments as an amateur runner.

"It's awesome. She's very dedicated and puts in way more training hours than I do," laughed Biggs.

And it’s those long training hours that Jamie puts in that translates into shorter marathon times.

"I really just love being active. And running is an easy way to do that because you can do it anywhere. And I just happen to be okay at it," Adkins said.

And Adkins' best advice for other long-distance runners?

"Surround yourself with people that are better than you," she said. "Be okay with being in the back of the pack."

Adkins runs in the Atlanta Olympic trials next Saturday, February 29. She says it’s just an honor to be able to race at the Olympic Trials and simply hopes to stay healthy and enjoy the experience, regardless of her finishing time.

Colorado Springs / Local News / Sports / Sports

Josh Helmuth

Josh is an anchor for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Josh here.