Andrea Karl '14

issue 03 | fall 2015
Where Are They Now - Andrea Karl '14

Andrea Karl thought she was in first. No, she knew it. The cyclists who clear the lead runner’s path were next to her and she felt good, really good. If she kept this pace, she would achieve a personal record and win her second marathon, the second she had ever run.

Then Karl crossed the finish line. And the officials of the Go! St. Louis Marathon informed her that there had been some confusion. Five minutes earlier, a different woman, Kendall Schler, had crossed the finish line. Schler broke the tape; she held the winner’s ribbon; and she met track and field Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Eventually, Schler was disqualified due to a suspicious lack of data from timing markers spread across the course. Three days later, Karl, who majored in biochemistry at Denison, was a local celebrity.

“It’s been surreal, just hilarious. I guess everyone has his or her 15 minutes of fame, and I just had mine,” says Karl, who has been recognized regularly on the street since the story hit the press. Several people have even requested selfies with her.

In order to properly acknowledge the real winner, officials invited Karl to attend the Blues’ first-round playoff hockey game and to throw out the first pitch at the Cardinals’ stadium after running a lap and breaking a ceremonial tape.

“I was nervous, but my goal was just not to throw it into the ground, and it turned out pretty good, with a little more arch than a professional pitch,” says the Powell, Ohio, native with a laugh.

While the recognition was appreciated, it wasn’t necessary for Karl. Since moving to St. Louis in July of 2014 to work on her Ph.D. in molecular genetics and genomics at Washington University, running has become a way to meet people, make friends, and maintain a little bit of the competitive spirit she nurtured as the four-year starting goalie for the Denison women’s soccer team. (That’s right—goalie. She didn’t even run during the games.)

In spite of her new celebrity status, Karl is mainly focused on spending time in the lab at Wash U, and she is looking forward to many more marathons in her future, including the Boston Marathon, which she qualified for with her new personal record of 2:54.

Published November 2015
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