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Steve Wagner, Published July 01 2012

Wagner: Strong showing for area runners at Olympic Trials

Bemidji, Minn.

In running circles, inspiration is something every athlete relies on.

We all need it – and we draw on all forms to give us an edge in training and racing.

Many of us look to family and friends for strength and support. We train together, go to races together and celebrate together. Strangers – famous or not – can inspire us to faster times, further distances, better fitness.

And then there are the area athletes who competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The top athletes from across the country make it to the Trials, enduring their own struggles, self-doubts and challenges. To get there, they’ve had to run, jump and throw at a world-class level. Sometimes they put life on hold to chase dreams of competing on the world’s largest stage.

In many ways, the last week has been pretty special to track and watch them.

The Olympics and Olympic Trials are compelling, dramatic and full of life lessons.

Terrific runners like Laura Januszewski and Laura Roesler, both 800-meter specialists, were unable to advance into the final. Januszewski plans to move on to other endeavors after a spectacular career, while Roesler – who attends the University of Oregon – conceivably has another great chance to make the Olympic team in 2016.

Gabriele Anderson, the Perham, Minn., native, finished fourth Sunday in the women’s 1500-meter run, just one place from earning a trip to London.

Amanda Smock became North Dakota State University’s first Track and Field Olympian when she won the triple jump title.

These women, like all the athletes competing, undoubtedly faced their own ups and downs during their careers. Watching on TV, I was struck by how many athletes had suffered major disappointments along the way, but had battled back to earn a spot in the national championships.

Nearly all of us will never compete at the level of these athletes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn – and draw inspiration – from them.

Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@bemidjipioneer.com.