After epic Boston run, Glen Osborne woman sets sights on Olympic trials

Saturday, May 19, 2018 | 2:48 PM

Glen Osborne runner Meta Haley is chasing big dreams.

At 31, the avid runner broke into the sport only eight years ago after an injury removed her from soccer.

The ER physician at Heritage Valley Sewickley hospital last month finished among the Top 50 in her age division at the Boston Marathon, the oldest and one of the world’s most prestigious road races.

Her time was 2:57 — a new personal record and a full 10 minutes faster than her time in the 2016 New York Marathon and the 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon.

“It was a good day,” said Haley, who was among 25,000 athletes to participate in Boston on April 16 where the frigid, wet conditions made for a grueling 26-mile course.

“That race is something I’m so proud of. Boston is just such a historical race. If you run marathons long enough, you can’t escape the lore of racing Boston.”

It would seem natural for Haley to set her sights on the next big goal — the Olympic trials in January 2020.

But the Quaker Valley grad is taking it one step at a time.

“I’m trying to savor the accomplishment of Boston,” she said. “Breaking three hours is a big barrier and I’m excited for the next 20 months to see where I can go.”

Qualifying time for Olympic trials is 2:45.

“The process is the fun part,” she said. “If you don’t enjoy the training, it’s a long, hard sport.”

Haley said she initially started running in middle school, but only as conditioning for soccer, the sport she played through high school and at the University of Pittsburgh.

“I actually used to follow my dad on his runs,” she said. “But running certainly wasn’t something I loved doing.”

Ironically, a foot injury changed all of that.

“I could no longer change foot direction quickly without pain, but I could run in a straight line all day,” she said.

“It was initially just the closest thing that I could do that was related to soccer but eventually I started enjoying the actual act of running.”

The sport, she said, has “kept her sane” through the long days of medical school and residency.

“Now I can’t imagine not doing it,” she said, adding that training is part of her daily routine, like eating or sleeping.

Haley said she most enjoys the challenge of improving — her first Boston Marathon saw her finish in 3:16.

There’s also a sense of peace for Haley when she hits the roads, the same routes she used to run with her dad.

“It’s refreshing and I’m just itching to see how much better I can be.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2.