By Brian Nicholson, GOAL Foundation
After Cynthia Fowler of Farmington broke the Ogden Marathon course record with a time of 2:43.24 in 2015, the wheels began to turn. “When I ran Ogden with that time, I didn’t know I was in shape for that, and my husband suggested that I train for the (U.S. Olympic Marathon) Trials,” she said. “It was a huge confidence booster.”
Fowler then started training for the qualifying time of under 2:43 and set her sites on the Chicago Marathon last October . However, due to a nagging problem in her foot, she was unable to put in the training and instead, decided to try for the California International Marathon in Sacramento on December 6, 2015.
“The CIM was the perfect course and there were perfect conditions,” she said. “It was nice and cool.” Fowler accomplished her goal with a gun time of 2:41.32, earning her a spot among America’s best distance runners. “If I hadn’t run Ogden at a 2:43, I wouldn’t have felt it was possible to qualify,” she said.
Since her freshman year at Delta High School, Fowler is no stranger to winning races. She began training and remembers her coach at the time, Randy Simkins, saying, ‘You’re gonna kick some girls’ butts.’ She began her first cross country meet and recalls passing people during the race until ending up in first place. “Coach was so excited,” she said.
The Ogden Marathon, which she has run twice, is Fowler’s favorite marathon race course. “I feel like the miles just tick away. It’s a perfect run. It’s so peaceful, you can just lock into your pace and go. Before you know it, you reach the half way point and the party atmosphere provides a big boost for the second half,” she said. “The next thing you know, your around (Pineview) Reservior and flying down the (Ogden) canyon.”
Once out of the canyon, she recalls running on the parkway when she ran with the Weber State Track and Cross Country teams. “I love the parkway stretch because it brings back a lot of memories,” she said. “Then the finish provides a nice push when you hear all the crowds cheering you on. You can’t help but run faster toward the line.”
And with her success at the Ogden Marathon, coupled with encouraging words and support from her husband, Fowler is now the 24th fastest woman in the U.S. in the marathon. With a slight, unseasonable heat wave, the trials in Los Angeles were no walk on the beach. “I was hoping to run a PR but with the heat, I tried to adjust my pace accordingly,” she said.
Her strategy was to go out strong but to be patient, knowing that if she could manage her pace well, she could pick people off toward the end, which is exactly what happened. Her rank against all other competitors was 101 before the race started. She ended 24th overall. “I was so excited to be in the top 25,” she said. “I’m so thrilled with that.” So thrilled, in fact, that she almost didn’t believe it when she heard the news.
Fowler attributes much of her success to her husband, Jeff and her three children. They have always supported her and adjusted their schedules to allow for her long training runs. Mostly, however, she wants to be a good example to her children of working hard and accomplishing goals. “I think kids are a motivating factor. They come to watch all my races and I hope they learn what it takes to achieve their goals.”
Cynthia Fowler will be at the Ogden Marathon this year, running the course that made it all happen for her.