Emily Durgin is congratulated by race founder Joan Benoit Samuelson after Durgin finished second in the elite women’s race at the 2022 Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

When your job is running fast, like it is for professional runner Emily Durgin, there can be a temptation to find a road race with a hefty prize money purse every weekend.

But any short-term financial gain can sometimes come with long-term costs, including injuries, decreasing performance levels and a lapse in focus on the big goals.

“When you’re trying to peak for certain races, you can’t race every single weekend,” said Durgin, an All-American at the University of Connecticut after starring in high school at Cheverus and Bonny Eagle.

And, when you turn 30, as the Standish native did on May 15, big goals become the focus.

“Once you decide the goals, that’s when we have to figure out what the training will look like,” said Durgin, who now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, but returns to Maine frequently.

Durgin’s biggest goals now center around the marathon. She has completed the 26.2-mile distance twice in competition, placing fifth in two hours, 26 minutes, 46 seconds in Toronto in October, and ninth at the Olympic trials in February in Orlando, Florida, in 2:27:56.


“Next year is a world championship year in Tokyo. So I would love to be selected for the (U.S.) marathon team, and to be able to do that, I have to be one of the top three ranked American runners,” Durgin said. “Basically, that comes down to the three fastest times, as long as you run the world standard, which is 2:23.30, and we will definitely have three American women under that.”

Durgin is targeting the Valencia Marathon in Spain on Dec. 1 as her chance to record a time fast enough to be under consideration for the 2025 world championships.

Regarded as one of the world’s premier marathons, just a notch below the six marathon majors (Boston, Berlin, London, Tokyo, Chicago, New York), Valencia is known for its completely flat course, and typically favorable temperatures in the low 60s.

Her marathon training is why Durgin likely won’t retain the top spot in the 11-event USA Track & Field (USATF) Running Circuit, which pays $30,000 to the season-ending points leader.

Durgin is first place with 34 points and has earned $23,000 in prize money by racing in four of the first six events. Points are awarded to the top-10 finishers in each race, with 15 for first, 12 for second and 10 for third, down to one point for 10th. She leads Annie Frisbie by one point and Sanford native Rachel (Schneider) Smith by seven points.

Durgin earned two points for her ninth place at the marathon trials. She was third in the 15-kilometer championship in Jacksonville, Florida, which Smith won.


Her next stop was the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in Washington, D.C. Durgin was second behind Sarah Chelengat of Uganda, but as the top American, she won her first U.S. championship after seven top-three finishes since 2021. Her time of 51:26 was just three seconds shy of the American record of 51:23, which Keira D’Amato set in 2020.

Most recently, Durgin was fourth at the 25K championship on May 11 in Grand Rapids.

As of now, Durgin said she intends to run only one of the five remaining USATF Running Circuit races – a 6K in Canton, Ohio, on July 13.

“It’s been fun to chase the circuit,” Durgin said, noting that end-of-season payouts are given to the top five, “So I might still end up something like third.”

Durgin will keep a busy race schedule before she starts her marathon training build-up. But her schedule does not include the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon, from June 21-30.

She said she seriously considered trying to make the Olympic 10,000-meter team in the immediate aftermath of the marathon trials. Durgin was ninth in the 10,000 at the 2021 trials.


However, Durgin scrapped those thoughts as she thought about it more, saying it was an unrealistic goal, considering both the depth of the American field and the blistering Olympic standard time of 30:40. Her PR is 31:33.83.

“We only have one woman who is qualified,” Durgin said. “For me and my sponsor, Adidas, where I’m at now, going to the trials and finishing fifth, sixth, seventh really doesn’t mean anything. Unless you’re confident you can hit the standard and have a very good chance of being top three, it really doesn’t matter.”

She’ll be doing her summer training on the roads and tracks in her home state, rather than at altitude in Flagstaff. She might even jump into one of the weekly Back Cove Series 5Ks in Portland, as she’s done in the past.

“I fly to Maine (in early June) and I’ll be based there all summer and racing out of there,” Durgin said. “I always come home for a month or two in the summer, but this will be longer than I’ve done since I moved to Flagstaff.”

Before coming to Maine, she’ll look to defend her title at the Bolder Boulder 10K in Colorado on Memorial Day, hoping to again hear the finish-line cheers inside a packed Folsom Field, the University of Colorado’s football stadium.

Then comes two more well-regarded 10-kilometer events: the all-women’s Mastercard Mini 10K in New York City on June 8, which is an invitation-only event for the pros; and the Boston Athletic Association 10K on June 23.

Durgin also plans to run a 10K in Cape Elizabeth on the first Saturday in August. Yes, the TD Beach to Beacon 10K is on her itinerary.

“No American woman has ever won the TD Beach to Beacon,” Durgin noted. “I came close. I got second two years ago. So when I make my goals and send them to my coach (Terrence Mahon), one of those goals was to be in shape to try to win the race.

“My coach said I can full send-it at Beach to Beacon,” Durgin said. “But then I need some down time.”

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