Rainsberger seeks to inspire other runners - just like Mom

Katie Rainsberger, a high school senior from Colorado, and one of the nation's top prep middle distance runners, meets the press after winning the 1,500 meters at the Oregon Relays last Friday at Hayward Field. Rainsberger will compete for the Ducks next fall. (TrackTown USA photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – Last Friday night at the Oregon Relays, Colorado high school superstar Katie Rainsberger introduced herself to the Hayward Field faithful in stellar fashion. En route to a top-15 all-time prep performance, Rainsberger took down a field of seasoned professionals and collegians in the women’s 1,500 meters. The future Duck took to the start line, positioned herself on the rail and kicked past 2012 Olympian Geena Gall with 250 meters to go, crossing the line in a winning time of 4 minutes, 17.52 seconds.

Rainsberger has gotten progressively better this season, becoming a mainstay atop the national high school rankings; not an easy task for an 18-year-old. When asked who she looks up to for guidance in her career, the answer is her mother, Lisa Larsen Rainsberger, the last American woman to win the Boston Marathon.

Lisa Weidenbach wins the 1985 Boston Marathon, the last American woman to win that race.

Lisa Weidenbach wins the 1985 Boston Marathon, the last American woman to win that race.

In the mid-80s, Lisa Rainsberger – then known as Lisa Weidenbach – was the top U.S. woman to beat in the marathon. After an All-American swimming career at the University of Michigan and a spot on the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, which the United States boycotted, the elder Rainsberger turned her attention to the marathon, clinching victories at the 1985 Boston Marathon, and the 1988 and 1989 Chicago Marathons.

For Katie, it is not her mother’s accolades that drive her, rather it is the way she inspired the women of her time and her knowledge that has played a key role in Katie’s career. “It’s hard to compare a marathoner to someone who runs the 1,500 meters but I draw a lot of confidence from what sees in my potential. She was an inspiration for her event and her time, and that is something I hope to do with my running,” Katie said.

Progression is an important part of any athlete’s career and when asked about her race this past weekend at Hayward Field, Katie responded, “I’m thrilled I ran so well and it’s really important to come and run against girls that are better than me. I was a bit hesitant to pass Geena (Gall), but I felt great and taking those chances can only help in my development.”

As for the rest of the outdoor season, Rainsberger said she will continue to work on a faster first half of her race in order to put together a result that might earn her for a spot at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field, July 1-10, at Hayward Field. The qualifying standard in the 1,500 for the Trials is 4:09 and that has given Katie a goal to work towards.

With her first Hayward Field moment in the books, Rainsberger is eager to return in less than a month for the Oregon Twilight meet on May 6, and then look to become a permanent face in TrackTown USA starting in the fall. Her race last Friday night was another affirmation that her decision to run for Oregon was the right one.

With a smile on her face, Rainsberger said, “I got to take a victory lap and I didn’t know that was a thing. I’ve never done that before and the reception from the crowd was amazing. It makes me really excited to be a Duck for the next four years.”

RunnerSpace.com caught up with Katie after her race. See that interview Here.

Oregon recruit Katie Rainsberger takes first place in the 1,500 meters at the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field, kicking past Olympian Geena Gall with 250 meters to go. (TrackTown USA photo)

Oregon recruit Katie Rainsberger takes first place in the 1,500 meters at the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field, kicking past Olympian Geena Gall with 250 meters to go. (TrackTown USA photo)