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Idaho Falls athlete qualifies for Olympic trials

Idaho Falls

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Erica Richardson running in the steeple race. | Photo courtesy Shutterfly.

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls woman made her best personal time during an Olympic trial qualifiers race on June 17.

Erica Richardson, 27, who competes in the 3k steeple race, a track and field event, won second place in the Harry Jerome Track Classic in Vancouver, Canada. Erica’s time for the event was 9:51, which qualified her to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials for track and field. The time she needed in order to make the cut was 9:53.

“I started training harder and increasing more miles, and it’s kind of worked out,” Richardson said.

Richardson got her first major award at a state competition when she raced for Skyline High School in 2007. She placed second in the 1.6k event. She went on to race for Idaho State University, where she set the record for the steeplechase and indoor mile in 2011.

She took a break from racing and picked up the sport again in 2014 after having her second child. She began training with her coach from Skyline High School, Sean Schmidt.

“I’m just amazed at the stamina that she has to be able to actually do this. She’s just amazing at what she does, and she doesn’t do it for herself. She wants to do it to inspire the younger generation,” her husband, Tim Richardson, said.

During her last string of races, she’s achieved a new personal best, shaving seconds off her time in each race. These personal bests all led up to the Harry Jerome International Track Classic, where she scored her best yet, 9:51.

“It’s still sinking in. It’s kind of nerve-racking in a way, just to realize that I’m going to the Olympic trials. Nobody hardly ever hears that,” she said.

A GoFundMe page to cover Richardson’s trial expenses has been started by the Boise Betties, a running group Richardson competes with throughout the year.The goal for the page is $2,500.

The trial competition will take place in Eugene, Oregon — also known as Track Town USA — from July 1 to 10.