USATF Pacific

ELITE PA-Connected Fiona O’Keefe: 1st Olympic Marathon Trials Woman!

Fiona O'Keefe Oly Marathon Trials Women's WinnerCongratulations Fiona from your fans at USATF Pacific!


This was described by many as a surprise or “darkhorse” win, since the OMT was her first marathon (she achieved the OMT entry by making the half marathon standard 0f 1:12 or faster at the 2022 Houston Half Marathon with a time of 1:07:42), and she was the youngest competitor in the field. As it turns out she was the youngest finisher to ever actually win the OMT, and she set an OMT women’s record in the process. Historic! Read on to discover why Fiona’s performance might not be fully deserving of that surprise factor.

Fiona (born 1998) hails from Davis, California, and her distance running talent was nurtured  at Davis High School. She was coached by Bill Gregg, Davis HS Distance & XC Coach since 1996, whose kids, Brendan and Kaitlin, also continued their running careers after high school. Those of us living in the surrounding area were impressed with Fiona’s high school accomplishments: multiple times she was an achievement award winner at the Sacramento Running Association’s Annual Awards Banquet. Coach Gregg received the SRA  “Coach of the Year” Award in 2014. Here is a summary of Fiona’s HS accomplishments:

  • Her 15:56.84 from U.S. Juniors placed her No. 6 on the all-time high school performers and performances lists, and blew away her previous best of 16:28.35, which she ran at the Stanford Twilight meet on April 22, 2016.
  • Won 2016 California track title in the 3,200 (10:12.02) while running for Davis Senior High, and was second in 2015.
  • Two-time California state Division I cross-country champion.
  • First place in the 5K at the Stanford Invitational seeded cross country race, establishing the fastest time in the country (16:32.1) to that point.
  • Set a Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet record in 2015 by running 10:00.85 in the 3,200 meters.
  • 2014 Gatorade California Cross Country Runner of the Year.
  • Two-time Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet champion at 3,200.

She chose Stanford for college among the many top universities in the country who courted her, and she did not disappoint. Here is Stanford’s summary of those achievements.

  • Six-time All-America
  • U.S. junior national 5,000 champion (2016)
  • Pac-12 cross country individual champion (2019)
  • Three-time XC All-West Region (2016-18)
  • Two-time MPSF indoor 3,000 champion (2018, 2019)
  • Pac-12 team champion (2019)
  • Three-time XC All-Pac-12 first team (2017-19)
  • XC All-Pac-12 second team (2016)
  • Stanford Athletic Board Women’s Conference Athlete of the Year (e2020)
  • Two-time CoSIDA T&F/XC Academic All-American (2019, 2020)
  • Three-time USTFCCCA All-Academic (T&F 2018, 2019; XC 2019)
  • T&F/XC Academic All-District 8 first team (2020)
  • Pac-12 All-Academic Honor Roll (XC 2019)
  • Pac-12 All-Academic first team (T&F 2019)
  • Three-time Pac-12 All-Academic second team (XC 2017, T&F 2018, XC 2018)
  • Two-time MPSF All-Academic (2018, 2019)

Fiona graduated from Stanford (Earth Science major) in 2020, and her positive training and competition experiences there caused her to pursue a professional running career. After a brief stint starting a Masters program at University of New Mexico, she realized how strong the call to a running career was. She found a relatively new coaching team, Amy and Alistair Cragg, sponsored by Puma and based in Chapel Hill North Carolina. Fiona’s choice was made based on their emphasis on the marathon: Amy née Hastings, placed 4th in the 2012 Trials, won the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials with a 9th place finish at Rio, went on to a 3rd place finish in the 2017 World Champs Marathon and 7 months later achieved an all time PR at the Tokyo Marathon (2:21:42). Alistair was born in South Africa, but has lived in Ireland and the U.S., and competed internationally in XC, 5,000m, 10,000m. Also, Fiona approved of the Craggs’ goal to have a group of compatible team members who can support each other and share their careers’ ups and downs.

We will all look forward to watching Fiona’s performance at the 2024 Olympic Marathon in Paris on August 11!