By John Bombatch
BEAVERCREEK — She’s already competed in two Olympic trials in her racewalking career, and on June 30, Beavercreek’s Susan Randall has hopes that the third one will be her charm.
Randall is one of 14 racewalkers in the nation who have been invited to compete in the US Olympic racewalking trials in Salem, Ore.
Competitors had to meet a standard qualifying time over the 20-kilometer distance of 1 hour, 48 minutes and she eclipsed that with relative ease earlier this year while competing in an International Associations of Athletic Federations (IAAF) meet in Dudince, Slovakia, when she turned in a season-best time of 1:45.55.
“Am I ready? Oh noooooo!,” Randall, 41, said with a laugh on Wednesday. She was at Beavercreek Community Park for a training run … er … walk. “But I’m very excited to go there and give it my very best. I hope I make it.”
“Athletes are never quite happy with where they are prior to a big event,” Randall’s husband, Mike, explained. “Susan always wants to be just that much faster, that much quicker than the last time she competed. She pushes herself very hard to do her very best and succeed.”
Randall finished 11th in her first-ever US Olympic racewalk trials in 2008.
She improved upon that with a seventh-place finish in 2012.
The top-3 finishers in the Olympic Trials, who finish with a time of at least 1:36 or quicker, will earn themselves a spot on the US Olympic team.
This is no age group breakdown. Randall will be competing against competitors of all ages.
In a recent competition at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Randall placed fifth overall, and Mike had to tease her about who she finished behind.
“I could’ve been the other four competitors’ mother!” she laughed, rolling her eyes while Mike chuckled. “I was too fast to be placed in the Masters category for athletes my age, so they put me in a group where I could compete and not dominate the field.”
Randall puts herself through a training regimen where she’s working out or simulating a race, or both, seven days a week. She has a course mapped out at Community Park that is a similar 2-kilometer loop to what she would use when competing, and Mike gives her lap times and keeps her hydrated just as he would in a typical race. Randall says she walks about 60 miles every week, and she likes when people along the bike paths cheer her on and offer up kind words of encouragement.
“It feels nice to hear that. It means a lot to hear them,” she said. “It makes me work harder, for them.”
Earlier this year, she spent six weeks training in England. While there, she was a guest competitor in the British Indoor National Championships, and finished third.
She also competed in a 50-kilometer (32 miles) international event in Chile earlier this year where she finished second, and she will compete in her first World Masters Games competition this Fall in Perth, Australia. Also ahead on her competitive schedule is the 40K USATF Race Walk National Championships (inwhich she is the defending champion) in Whiting, N.J., and the USA Masters Championships, in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Fans can support her Olympic effort on June 24. On that day from 5-8 p.m., Ritter’s Frozen Custard, located at 2531 Dayton Xenia Road in Beavercreek, will give a percentage of all their sales during that time to Randall and her quest to make it to Rio.
Raffle baskets will be raffled off, and fans can purchase six tickets for $5 (or 12 tickets for $10). Susan Randall will be there to meet and greet her fans as well.
“I’m excited to do this, and I am working very hard for the people of Beavercreek,” she said. “I hope to do my very best at this year’s Olympic Trials. … All people on that starting line will have a chance to earn a spot on the team, so why not me?”
Why not, indeed.