Florida runner mounts curious GoFundMe for “Olympic marathon” journey

An article in Monday’s version of Al Jazeera, which aimed as an example the monetary challenges aspiring Olympic athletes face, left followers of the elite operating scene puzzled. It misleads readers to imagine that Ashley Uhl-Leavitt, a 36-year-old private coach from Ponte Vedra Seashore, Fla., would compete on this summer time’s Olympic Video games, as portrayed by Uhl-Leavitt’s buddy Audrey Maheu in a GoFundMe marketing campaign; nevertheless, the American ladies going to Paris for the Olympic marathon had been decided on the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in February, and they don’t embrace Uhl-Leavitt.

However, Maheu’s GoFundMe tells a unique story. Maheu launched the crowdfunding web page in March with the purpose of “serving to our buddy and coworker, Ashley, run within the Paris Olympics,” including that she and one other buddy plan to accompany Uhl-Leavitt to assist her race. Maheu goes on to misinform readers, saying, “the thrilling information concerning Ashley’s superb alternative to race in the summertime video games has started to unfold and supporters have inquired about how one can assist our lady get throughout the end line in Paris in lower than six months.” So far, Maheu has raised USD $1,310 towards her purpose of $5,000.

Al Jazeera picked the story up, reporting that Uhl-Leavitt had “an opportunity to compete within the 2024 Olympic Video games.” The article ascribes to Uhl-Leavitt the standing of an elite athlete, stating, “Coaching for this excessive stage of athletics is a full-time job…Uhl-Leavitt is without doubt one of the many athletes through the years who turned to various means to finance their Olympic journey.” The article factors readers to Uhl-Leavitt’s GoFundMe web page to assist her “offset the prices of attending to the video games.” Equally, in an article by Basically Sports activities, Uhl-Leavitt was described as a “New York Metropolis marathon legend…who not too long ago certified for the Olympics.” Uhl-Leavitt ran 4:54:20 on the 2022 New York Metropolis Marathon.

Maheu says that “donations obtained will go in the direction of bills akin to airfare, lodging, registration charges, potential bond cash to put up bail for our Paris shenanigans, and different numerous bills concerned in Ashley chasing down this dream.” This isn’t the primary time Maheu has used GoFundMe to fund athletic endeavors. In 2017 she raised USD $7,183 to journey to and compete within the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. 

U.S. feminine marathoners’ journey to qualify for the Paris Olympic marathon concerned, first, qualifying for the U.S. 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials by operating 2:37:00 on an eligible course between Jan. 1, 2022 and Dec. 5, 2023. Solely the highest three finishers had been chosen, they usually wanted to attain the Olympic “A” normal of two:26:50, both on the trials or in the course of the qualification window, which closed April 30. The highest three finishers on the trials had been Fiona O’Keeffe (who ran 2:25:312:22:10), U.S. marathon and half-marathon document holder Emily Sisson (2:22:42) and Dakota Lindwurm (2:25:31).

Uhl-Leavitt has been competing in marathons since 2018, and has a private greatest of 4 hours and alter. The occasion she plans to run is the mass-participation race on the Olympic marathon (the primary of its type, the place beginner runners might be allowed to run the identical course, behind the elite fields), which was decided by lottery; the lottery was open to runners worldwide who met the {qualifications}, which embrace incomes factors by recording bodily exercise utilizing the official app. There isn’t a normal qualifying time for the mass occasion. 

On Feb. 9, Uhl-Leavitt revealed on Instagram that she had received her bib for the race. Later in Might, Uhl-Leavitt shared a photograph from Vernazza, Italy, the place she landed after operating 16 miles by means of three international locations (France, Monaco and Italy) as part of her coaching for August’s mass participation race. Subsequent on her record: Paris. 

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