Digital training app Strava announced on Monday that it will award $1,500 grants to ten U.S. women runners in support of their qualification and competition in the 2016 Olympic team trials marathon, according to a press release. The application is open until September 25, and Strava will announce the awards on September 30. In addition to the grant, winners will receive a Strava premium membership and training apparel, including a running top, socks, headband, and more.
The trials marathon, hosted by the Los Angeles Marathon on February 13, 2016, is the official selector for the national marathon team for the Rio Olympics. To compete for an Olympic team berth in the trials, athletes must first qualify by time in a full or half marathon. The cutoff for women is either a 2:43:00 marathon or a 1:15:00 half marathon, though according to Strava, applicants are not required to have already earned the mark when applying for the grants.
“A lot of athletes that are training for the trials are not professional athletes,” Megha Doshi, brand strategy and communications director for Strava, told Outside on Wednesday. “They’re mothers. They’re students. They have normal jobs. Our goal is to give them a more even playing field with the pros.”
Whitney Bevins-Lazarra, a 2:40 marathoner from Houston, Texas, and a Strava grant applicant, says she budgets at least $600 in travel expenses for a typical race. When asked how she’d use the grant should she be awarded one, Bevins-Lazarra told Outside, “I’d see a chiropractor and massage therapist more consistently.”
According to MarathonGuide.com, 171 women have qualified for the trials so far. That number will almost certainly climb over the next four months before the cutoff on January 17, 2016.