Alumna competes in U.S. Olympic Trial Marathon

Cal Poly Pomona alumna Regina Lopez competed in the U.S. Olympic Trial Marathon on Feb. 29. Lopez, who graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s of science degree in kinesiology and exercise science, was one of the 390 female runners who finished the marathon.

The marathon was held in Atlanta and featured just 771 of the country’s top runners. According to the Feb. 14 issue of Runner’s World magazine, 511 women and 260 men qualified for the marathon with an overall distance of 26.2 miles.

To gain entrance into the marathon, women had to run a marathon in 2:45 hours or faster or a half-marathon in 1:13 hours. 

“I was in great shape for (the marathon), I was doing very well until mile 15,” Lopez said. “The weather was terrible, it was really windy, and it was a really hilly course. I finished at 2:56. It’s not my best time but just the experience, the atmosphere; being there it was awesome.”

Lopez qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in December 2017 at the California International Marathon in Sacramento. She crossed the finish line with a time of 2:42:07.

During the race, Lopez stated that her right foot started hurting, and after the race she wasn’t able to run on it. She believes it was because of her shoe and how she was landing on her foot when running. 

Lopez began running in high school as a sophomore when she and her twin sister Sabrina were encouraged by a student two grades above them to take up running. 

“For how young she is in her running career, she is very mature,” said Natalie Miano, Lopez’s friend and CPP alumna (’06 kinesiology). “(She is) very rarely held back or frazzled by setbacks. She is quick to look forward, learn from mistakes and focus on her goals. She is tough as they come but kind and supportive to all. These are not traits that come easy for a highly competitive athlete.”

Lopez placed first in the Spartan Trail Race on Dec. 15, 2019.
(Courtesy of Regina Lopez)

To train, Lopez typically runs mountain trails and a variety of gym workouts including CrossFit to train. She also does speed workouts and tempo runs. Speed workouts involve running specific intervals, time or distance at a specific pace to gain endurance, speed and strength in both her legs and lungs. Tempo runs are meant to build endurance. 

Lopez has been coached by Wes Ashford, CPP’s cross country/track and field associate head coach, on and off for the past couple of years.

“She is very dedicated and hard working,” Ashford said. “She has a passion for the sport that drives her, and that drive has help(ed) her accomplish what she has.” 

Lopez ran her first Spartan Trail Race Dec. 15, 2019 and came in first place in the women’s 21K race, where she won $5,000. The Spartan Trail Race is an event held by Spartan Race with all-natural trail runs and no obstacles involved in the race.

Lopez wants to continue doing a variety of races and put herself in competitive races where she can win prize money. 

“(Lopez) is out there doing what she loves — long distance running,” her father Jerry Lopez said. “She has grown a desire to love people and to motivate people. I’ve observed her desire to help those who want to be educated and change to better themselves, if they want to change. She finds it important to help others, including myself to be healthier and to change a way of thinking by positive feedback consequences and encouraging words.”

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