Kara Goucher and Family Thankful For Hometown Support

By KBJR News 1

June 18, 2012 Updated Jun 18, 2012 at 9:56 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---Thousands watched this weekend as Duluth native, Kara Goucher, broke a course record on her way to her second Olympics.

It's a victory, Goucher and her family say means more with the generous support of the Northland.

Kara Goucher set a course record while winning the USA Half Marathon Championship Saturday, at the 36th Annual Grandma's Marathon.

It was a record last set in 2003 by a Colorado woman; Goucher crossed the finish line 14 seconds faster, with an official time of 1:09:46.

"It's the home crowd town," Patty Wheeler, Kara's mother said. "This is the best place for her that she could possibly run and she did what she wanted to do."

With a 6:25 a.m. start time, Goucher said she was most surprised by the support from the crowds.

"They were here from the beginning; you know my high school coach was at the finish line," she said. "I used to work at Grandma's Marketplace. It's just amazing, it's just been a fantastic trip down memory lane."

Formerly Kara Wheeler and a Greyhound at Duluth East, her last competitive race in Duluth was during her senior year.

"She represents Duluth well and I think Duluth wanted to be a part of that." Kelly Grgas-Wheeler, Kara's sister said. "And they are, she is all Duluthian."

Goucher qualified for the 2012 summer Olympics in London by placing third in the January US Olympic trials in Houston.

It's a dream the two–time olympian has had since childhood.

"I remember sitting in her bedroom, she was probably a junior in high school and she told me, I want to make it to the Olympics someday," Grgas-Wheeler said. "It hasn't come easy to her, but she's always put the work in."

Work she's proud to share with her hometown.

"Duluth knocked it out of the park and I am so proud because I knew they could do it and they've done an amazing job," Goucher said. "It has blown away my expectations. I felt better than I thought I would and the crowds were better than I thought they'd be. It was awesome."

The women's olympic marathon event takes place on August 5th.

Jennifer Walch
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