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691. Gabi Rooker, 2:24 Marathoner

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“You take what you have and make the most of it.”

Gabi Rooker was an anti-running competitive gymnast growing up. After college, she began working full-time as an internal medicine physician’s assistant. Now, she’s headed to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon as the eighth-fastest woman in the field. In this conversation, Gabi talks about her unconventional road to becoming a 2:24 marathoner. Gabi ran her first marathon in 2021 — a 2:56 finish at Grandma’s Marathon in her home state of Minnesota — and in just two years progressed to a 2:24 finish at the 2023 Chicago Marathon. Gabi is coached by her husband, Alex, and she just signed her first major sponsorship deal with Nike at age 36. The Trials are just 11 days away, and Gabi’s name is one you should know.

FOLLOW GABI @gabirooker

SPONSOR: New Balance. Click here to shop New Balance’s latest releases for the season. (The SuperComp Trainer is my favorite shoe!)

What you’ll get on this episode:

  • On being “one to watch” at this year’s Olympic Marathon Trials, and what live has been like lately for Gabi (2:45)
  • On the pressure and stakes of this year’s Trials (6:00)
  • How Gabi’s life changed after the 2023 Chicago Marathon, and her thoughts on experience vs. newness (7:20)
  • How Gabi feels about being the 8th-fastest woman lining up at the Trials (10:50)
  • Gabi shares her goals for the 2024 Marathon Trials (12:20)
  • Growing up Gabi: the life of a competitive gymnast (14:55)
  • Gabi’s introduction to running (23:00)
  • How Gabi’s husband, Alex, became her coach (29:30)
  • All about Gabi’s work as a physician’s assistant (32:15)
  • Why Gabi wanted to run a marathon (39:45)
  • On signing with Nike, and moving to part-time PA work leading up to the Trials (48:30)
  • The magic of the Mill City Running community (54:10)
  • How Gabi is feeling a few weeks out from the Trials (57:00)

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