Only brother-sister duo in 2024 Marathon Olympic Trials are Southeast Kansas proud


For many families in Southeast Kansas, roots run deep and strong. And that’s no different for siblings Austin and Kaylee Bogina of Arma, Kansas. The brother-sister duo just recently raced a marathon in the 2024 Olympic Trials Qualifier in Orlando for their spot in the upcoming Olympics, after qualifying for the Trials at the California International Marathon in 2022. In California, Austin qualified with a time of 2:17:19, while Kaylee came in with a time of 2:34:57.

Being the only brother-sister duo to compete in the Orlando Olympic Trials was special, and being from Southeast Kansas makes it even that more special. “I have now competed in two U.S. Olympic Trials and while qualifying in and of itself means the world to me, even as I hobbled the last 2.6 miles to the finish, it was important for me to cross that line so Arma, Kansas, and two Bogina names were in the final results,” Austin said.

Both of their running careers started right here in Southeast Kansas. Running has been a huge part of the thread that weaves through their family. The family legacy of running seems to have started with their mother and their aunt (who coached them at Northeast High School), and grew from there to Austin and Kaylee. In fact, Austin’s journey started way back in 3rd grade when an AAU Cross Country Team coach called looking for some additional runners.

Austin and Kaylee’s mother is a competitive runner herself having ran at the University of Kansas and Pittsburg State University (in which she was a 3x All-American). This call wasn’t entirely out of the blue. However, when that call came in, their mother knew exactly who to turn to.

“She said she thought she might know one who would be interested, so that was my initiation into the sport,” Austin said. Kaylee followed soon after that initiation.

You can say the rest is history, as they both have had decorated running careers. During their college years, Austin was a 5x All-MIAA performer at Pittsburg State while Kaylee was a 2-time NCAA Division II All-American at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado.

Because of their success and efforts in competitive running, both have been able to travel to many places. From Brasov, Romania for the 2019 Road 50k World Championships to the hustling, to the bustling streets of New York for the 2021 USATF 5k Championships, and everywhere in between, running has afforded them many amazing opportunities and experiences. “Running has helped us see the world,” Austin said. Kaylee has been to 32 states so far while having only been to five at the time she left for college.

In the midst of all their travels and races, what makes them happy is that their parents are able to also see the country, as they hardly miss one of their races. While they get to see their mom and dad experience the world with them, Austin and Kaylee are also reminded how cool it is to be competing in many of these races together.

“We are almost like a team and we get to share the start line before the gun goes off,” Kaylee said. Marathons are unique in that men and women run at the same time, a much different experience from high school and collegiate sports in which they run separately. So, while they have always been each other’s biggest supporters, being able to race in these competitive events together is something they don’t take for granted.

Unfortunately, while they didn’t qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Orlando, they both finished the race and are looking forward to their next chance in 2028.

“Looking ahead, Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Olympics, so you best believe I am going to work as hard as ever over the next few years to qualify for the 2028 U.S. Olympic Trials,” Austin mentioned. Kaylee said she will have the “itch” to try again, but may take advantage of some downtime before then.

Nonetheless, both siblings have provided us in Southeast Kansas, and supporters of theirs around the country, an incredibly inspiring story on growth and hope, while never forgetting where they came from.

Austin said, “I always list where I am from as Arma, Kansas so it shows up in the results. THAT’S how tied Southeast Kansas is to my identity.”

Kaylee mentioned, “I look forward to going home to Southeast Kansas to run the roads with my brother.” She also said that the continued hometown support they both receive of those following their journey keeps them going.

For many families in Southeast Kansas, including the Boginas, roots run deep and strong. From their father who owns the NAPA store here in Girard, to their mother who coaches in Fort Scott, to their aunt who is still coaching in Arma, their legacy in Southeast Kansas continues.

Congratulations to Austin and Kaylee on their continued hard work and success! You are a great example of what determination, fueled by encouragement, can achieve.

©Hometown Girard 2024.