Laura Thweatt: Monarch’s own Superstar

Cross country coach and professional runner, Laura Thweatt, has taken the running world by storm


Sam Wexler

Abby Hein, Samantha Wexler, Liz Hogan, Laura Thweatt, Elissa Mann, Jensen Avey, and Karina Mann pose after Thweatt won the National Cross Country Championships in Boulder last February.

A top, yet not national-championship winning runner in high school, Laura Thweatt left her home in Durango, CO to become a CU Buffalo to pursue an NCAA career. Over her time at CU, Thweatt came out of her shell and started gaining steam towards the end of her career there. After school, Thweatt was unsure of her path, but starting to coach the team at Monarch put her on a totally new path. Now, she is running faster as a 26-year old then she ever  did in high school or college. Her best times are faster than any runner, boy or girl, to ever come through Monarch, and with a 15:04 5k and 32:15 10k, she is one of the fastest runners at this day and age in the US and the world.

“Honestly, it sounds really cheesy but it’s true, [the team at monarch] is really the reason why I continued my running. When I first started coaching 5 years ago, I wasn’t really running after college, but I was coaching and running with the kids and it kinda spurred the thought of ‘What if I kept running and what level could i do it at,’” Thweatt said. “I love coaching [here], it’s one of the best things I do with my time and it’s a great balance to my own running, it gives me a different perspective coaching and being on that side of things than just being the athlete, so that’s really helpful.

Thweatt has had a record year starting with her win at the USA Cross Country Championships in February where she obliterated the field at the end of the race, winning by a large 31 second margin. She, along with Monarch alum Kaitlyn Benner, then headed to China to compete at the world championships where she placed 29th to help the USA to a fifth place finish. After returning from China, a few injuries blocked her path to the track season. Under the direction of her coach, Australian marathoner, Lee Troop, Thweatt decided to totally change it up and go the marathon route. With no real experience in the marathon, Thweatt just wanted to see how it felt and try to compete among the best in the world at the TCS New York Marathon.

“My goal was mostly just to compete. I just wanted to be competitive within the front group and race the race. Obviously I had somewhat of a time window but that wasn’t really the goal,” Thweatt said.

Thweatt’s goals for time and place were both met, with a 2:28 marathon debut and a 7th place finish as the top American. Now, after a successful debut, she is looking farther into the future when thinking of the marathon and the 2020 Olympics, while focusing on the track in the near future and the 2016 Olympics. For right now, Thweatt is planning to run in either the 5k or the 10k at the Olympic trials this upcoming July at the University of Oregon’s, Hayward Field, in the hopes of making the US team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.  

“I was happy with my performance, [but the marathon] is not something I’m going to do in the immediate future. My focus for 2016 is going to be on the track. Going into 2020, hoping that I stay healthy and things continue progressing, I think that’s when I’ll really start to focus on the marathon,” Thweatt said. “[I will either run] the 5k or 10k, I’m not fully decided yet. I have to get a qualifier in both, so I think once the season starts and I’m able to run both races I’ll have a better feeling of which one I want to go into.”

Laura Thweatt’s breakout performance this entire year, highlighted by a world spotlight after a dazzling debut at the New York Marathon, proved to the rest of the world what the cross country team at Monarch already knew. Coach Laura Thweatt is a stellar coach and professional runner whose knowledge and skill in the sport brings a new level and perspective to the team and community here at Monarch.