The Greek/American distance runner got her film Tracktown accepted into the Los Angeles Film Festival on Wednesday and ended the week by crushing the Olympic 10K standard at Payton Jordan.
And she did it on Greek Easter.
“I think my yiayia (Greek for grandmother) will be very proud,” Pappas told FloTrack following her performance in Stanford, California, on Sunday night.
Pappas’ race marked the one-year anniversary of her debut in the distance. At the 2015 Payton Jordan Invitational, Pappas notched the Olympic standard by running 32:02. She had to hit the time once more this year to be selected to the Greek national team. At the 2016 Payton Jordan, she did that and more by finishing in a new Greek national record of 31:46, 16 seconds faster than her previous best.
The Oregon Track Club athlete gained dual citizenship in February and will now represent Greece in all international competition. She still needs to be officially selected by the Greek Olympic committee to compete in Rio, but the performance should put her in good standing.
Pappas credited a massive support system, led by her coach Ian Dobson, for the breakthrough performance.
“Ian [Dobson] is amazing,” Pappas said. “He believes in me so I believe in myself.”
“You only hear what you want to hear in a race, but I hear him [Dobson],” Pappas said, holding back tears of joy.
When asked about her eventful week, Pappas could barely contain her excitement when talking about her running and film career.
“It’s going to be electric!” she said in regards to the film, which she produced with Jeremy Teicher, Laura Wagner, and Jay Smith.
The Tracktown movie premiere will take place at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 4, and tickets will go on sale May 10. The film was shot in historic Eugene, Oregon, and features professional athletes, notably Andrew Wheating and Nick Symmonds, as actors.
The film’s protagonist, Plum Marigold, who is played by Pappas, is a distance runner gearing up for the Olympic Trials. She suffers from an unexpected injury that forces her to take a day off, which proves to be a life-changing experience.
“We’re premiering it at one of the best festivals in the world and I’ll be competing, hopefully, on the biggest stage in the world, so 2016 is going to be one amazing year,” Pappas said.