2015 Covington graduate Nathan Dunn qualified for the Olympic Trails in the marathon.

COVINGTON – This past weekend Nathan Dunn, a 2015 Covington graduate, punched his ticket to the 2024 Olympic Trials by finishing a 26.2 miles marathon race in the time of 2:16:55 in Duluth, Minnesota.

The time Dunn needed to qualify was 2:18:00, a goal Nathan set for himself a year ago.

“It all started around this time last year where I had a goal to try qualifying for this (the Olympic Trials) and I had until December of this year to qualify,” Dunn said. “My coach and I, Rick Williamson, my college coach at Wright State, he set out a plan for me and this plan was detailed. He had several races lined out for me to hit this time (2:18.00).”

Nathan had until December of 2023 to qualify for the Olympic Trials and managed to accomplish his goal ahead of schedule.

“One of the first marathons I attempted was at the California International Marathon in Sacramento this last December,” Dunn explained. “I went for the qualifying time and missed it by three seconds. That hurt a little bit, but we (Dunn and his coach) sat back down and etched out a plan again. And just this last weekend I went for the (qualifying) time again and I got it by over a minute.”

Which is an amazing accomplishment for an athlete who has progressed dramatically throughout his entire career.

In high school Nathan was one of the top distance runners in the Buccaneer program as he qualified for state as a senior in 2014 and ran the eighth fastest time in school history with a personal best of 16:41.

“In high school I was not that good of a runner when I started,” reflected Nathan. “I was afraid of pain, so under my dad (Steve Dunn) and Coach (Josh) Long, they were able to get me to be a state qualifier in cross country my senior year.”

Nathan continued his running career at Wright State University under the tutelage of Rick Williamson.

“In college, that was a big jump up,” Nathan said. “There was a lot more miles you had to run and a lot more specific training plans. Under my college coach Rick Williamson, who is still my current coach, we were actually able to get me to place in the league meet every single year that I was there (at Wright State).”

With Williamson’s coaching knowledge and Nathan’s work ethic, Dunn was able to improve each and every year.

“Actually, every race that I ran got quicker and quicker and I placed higher and higher until my senior year I placed runner-up at the Horizon League Meet,” said Dunn.

After graduating from college, Nathan continued to pursue his love of running and set new goals for himself. It all led to his accomplishment of qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the marathon.

“Honestly, I’m an endurance monster, so in the longer races you don’t have to run as quick or have as good of foot speed,” he said. “For me, I just knew that I had the advantage over people in the longer distances. So, I just trained my heart out for that.”

The fact that Nathan was able to qualify for the Olympic Trials is something that even amazed himself, especially considering the distance of 26.2 miles.

“It’s hard to believe,” he said with a smile. “In my training I never hit twenty-six-point-two, like in a given run. It’s just like, when you get on the starting line, you are giving everything you have.”

Now that Nathan secured a spot in the Olympic Trials, he is back into preparation for the event that will take place on February 3, 2024 in Orlando, Florida.