HARTFORD, Conn. — Before Saturday, Erica Jesseman hadn’t competed in a race longer than 20 kilometers, let alone a marathon.
The Scarborough native made quite a splash in her debut at the 26.2-mile distance over the weekend, not only winning the ING Hartford Marathon, but qualifying for an even bigger race in the process.
The 22-year-old, who ran cross country and track for the University of New Hampshire, posted a winning time of 2 hours, 45 minutes flat, which also qualifies her for the upcoming Olympic Trials in Houston.
Jesseman finished 31 seconds ahead of runner-up Ashley Gorr of Massachusetts.
Jesseman’s winning time eclipsed the ‘B’ qualifying standard of 2:46:00 for the January trials in Texas, meaning she’ll be in the race, but must pay for her own expenses.
The marathon trials have had a Maine flavor as of late — four Maine runners took part in the 2008 race in Boston.
Jesseman must finish in the top three in the trials to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team. She joins fellow Mainers Sheri Piers of Falmouth and Kristin Barry of South Portland as trials qualifiers.