Bloomington, IN
Grew Up:
Roanoke Rapids, NC
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Social handles:
Instagram  @oballew     
Twitter  @oballew

# of previous Marathon Trials?

How did you start running?
I started running in high school. I fell out of love with the sport my senior year of high school and quit running altogether for nine years. I gradually started running again in my 2nd year of grad school at IU. I then met my now boyfriend and coach, Brad Robinson, who is also the head XC and distance track coach for the University of Indianapolis. I tagged along for the Monumental Mile in Indianapolis and it sparked a fire to compete again. I asked Brad to coach me and he refused at first. After a few weeks, he finally said yes and I signed up for the 2016 Monumental half marathon in Indianapolis. I ran a 1:38. I kept training and ran my first full marathon in 2017 and qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:19. At this point, I was fully committed to training. I decided to really push my limits and placed 6th at the Indy 500 mini marathon with a 1:20. After the race Brad suggested that I try and qualify for the trials. I decided to not tell anyone that I was training to try and qualify. I signed up for Monumental again in 2018. I placed 4th and ran a 2:43, dropping 36 minutes from my previous marathon and qualifying me for the trials. 

Where did you qualify for the Trials?
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon - 2018

Tell us about the point you realized you had qualified for the Trials and how it felt?
I remember running down Meridian St. during the marathon at about mile 24 and I was hitting the wall. I knew I had a good buffer to qualify, but I was trying to calculate how slow I could run for the last few miles and still qualify. I guess I never really felt like I had it in the bag until mile 26. I remember finding my friends the last stretch of the race and pointing to the clock like they didn't already know what the time was. 

What High School did you graduate from and what year did you graduate?Roanoke Rapids HS (North Carolina) in 2008. I became a resident of IN when I moved to Bloomington for graduate school in 2014. 

What were your best track times in high school what were your best times in track and best placings in cross country?
I wasn't the best HS athlete. 800m: 2:23    1600m: 5:25 .  3200m: 11:35. 

#1 High School highlight?
Out kicking a girl to place second at regionals my Sophomore year. I usually don't have a kick, so this was a very happy moment for me.

College (and year you graduated)?
UNC-Chapel Hill (2012)

What were your best times in college?
I didn't run in college. 

#1 College highlight?
Working in the Sekelsky lab as a research assistant. 

Current Coach?
Brad Robinson

Brooks Running- Hometown Heroes

Something unique about you?
I love the song Let it Snow, and will play/sing it all year long. 

Favorite Workout?
Broken Tempo. 3x3mile.  It isn't as daunting as a continuous tempo, but still makes you feel like a bada**.

Favorite Place to Train?
Kerr Creek Rd in Bloomington

PhD Candidate in Genome, Cell, and Developmental Biology at IU

Favorite Food?
Fruity Candy

Favorite book? 
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 

If you could have dinner with one person who would it be with?
Ellen DeGeneres

Goal at the Trials?
Do my best and have fun. Soak it all in!

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