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Olympic marathon: Duluth native Goucher is in it to win it

Kara Goucher doesn’t believe her running career is reaching a peak in Sunday’s Summer Olympics women’s marathon. At age 34, she thinks the best is yet to come. Only three American women have ever run a faster marathon than the 1996 Duluth East graduate, who has a best of 2 hours, 24 minutes, 52 seconds.
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Duluth's Kara Goucher, at 34, is about to run the biggest race of her life in the Olympic women's marathon event Sunday morning. The Duluth News Tribune has a profile of just the second Olympian ever raised in Northeastern Minnesota.

“She’s in the best spot she she’s ever been — the fittest, the best shape, the most prepared. She’s more confident and knows what to expect,” the runner's mother Patty Wheeler says.

Goucher was in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, where she placed ninth in the 5,000 and 10th in the 10,000 meters. She didn't run the marathon four years ago.

Goucher isn't predicting a medal, but she sounded optimistic when interviewed in her current home city of Portland, Ore., this summer, the Star Tribune writes in a preview of the race.

"I think something big could happen,'' she said.

Her personal best of 2 hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds compares pretty well with many of her competitors.

The race begins at 5 a.m. Central time. Two other U.S. women will be competing: Desiree Davila and Shalane Flanagan.

The marathon course will take her past such landmarks as Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch, Birdcage Walk, St Paul's Cathedral, and the Houses of Parliament, the newspaper reports. Goucher wondered about running on cobblestones, but she has run the course in preparation.

Age has brought perspective and maturity, Goucher tells Northland's Newscenter:

Here, Goucher is featured in a New York Times video talking about what running has meant to her in life:

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