Create a free account to unlock this article!
Already a subscriber? Log In
Serena Burla: Mom, Cancer Survivor, Worlds Top 10
Name: Serena Burla
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Marathon PR: 2:28:01 (Amsterdam 2013)
Best Trials Qualifier: 2:28:01 (Amsterdam 2013)
Previous Trials Results: 16th in the 10K (2008), DNF at 2012 Marathon Trials
Our Take: Burla has had one of the most interesting journeys to the big race on Feb. 13. It is a story that includes surviving cancer, a failed Trials attempt in 2012, and a comeback that included a new personal best and top 10 finish at the World Championships in Beijing.
Burla was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and underwent a procedure that involved removing the tumor and dominant muscle in her right hamstring. Just eight months after surgery, Burla returned to competition with the help of her longtime coach Isaya Okwiya. She ran 2:37 at the New York Marathon that year and qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials. Unfortunately Burla was unable to cope with nerves before the big race and did not eat the day before. She collapsed at mile 18 and was carried off the course.
Since the 2012 Trials, Burla has posted impressive performances, notably her personal best of 2:28 at the Amsterdam Marathon in 2013. The mark is currently the fifth-fastest time in the field heading into the 2016 Trials. She also qualified to represent Team USA at the World Championships last August in Beijing where she finished 10th overall in 2:31.
Four years of improvement and championship experience since the 2012 Trials should set Burla up for success on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles.