Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- The Summer Olympics in Tokyo start up on July 24th and there are always local athletes trying to make the trip, not just to watch, but to compete. That’s the case for a handful of women from the Middle Tennessee area.
Lauren Weaver, Whitney Macon, Stella Christoforou and Sharon Thompson were all on hand this week for a celebration breakfast at Fleet Feet Nashville. Three of these women will be headed to Atlanta next week for the Marathon Olympic qualifier event on February 29th.
“What a way to celebrate a group of woman, some of them are mothers, others are business owners and they live a life like all of us and also done this amazing physical feat,” Feet Fleet Nashville owner Christi Beth Adams.
All of these woman were involved in track and field and/or cross-country in college, but all of them have a different story when it comes to how they got involved in marathons.
Lauren Weaver has been running since the sixth grade and was on the track and field team at Belmont University, but she was never a long distance runner until after she had her two kids.
“About a year and a half ago, my husband and I signed up to do the Indianapolis Marathon and it went well and that’s where I qualified for the trials,” said Weaver.
Stella Christoforou is a dual citizen who currently lives in Middle Tennessee and while she was invited to Atlanta, she chose to represent her country of Cyprus. She’ll try to qualify for the Olympics by making time in the Boston Marathon.
Stella has also been running for a majority of her life, after joining a local track club kids academy in 4th grade. After attending the University of Georgia, where she ran mid-distance, Stella decided to transition into long-distance and hasn’t looked back.
“I feel in love with the process and the positive energy of that those amateur runners are passing on throughout the race, no matter how competitive they are. When I signed up for my first local half marathon, what I experienced wasn’t the nerves you’d have at a track meet, it was the feeling of love,” said Christoforou.
Sharon Thompson is headed to her fourth Olympic trials and hungrier than ever. The mother of four kids ran for the University of Tennessee from 1998-2002 and has been considered “the most decorated athlete in the history of cross-country at Tennessee.”
And Whitney Macon will also be headed to Atlanta next week, this is her first time qualifying for the Olympic trials. Whitney has been running since the 9th grade, and that’s when she realized it’s something she wanted to excel at.
All these women might be competing to make an Olympic team, but they are rooting for each other, and that’s what makes this sport so unique.
“It’s incredible with these girls we are not racing against each other when we aren’t in Atlanta and in local races, we are racing with each other to help each other get better, to push ourselves to the next level,” said Christoforou.