Though in the end there were no real surprises at the Olympic Trials marathon, it was still compelling watching. And what a day it was for AthleteBiz runners.
At the Front
Galen Rupp certainly answered the question as to whether he could move up to the marathon. He bided his time early, did enough to match Tyler Pennel’s surge, and pulled away from Meb Keflezighi with a 4:47 in the 23rd mile to easily take first. Behind Rupp was a parade of ABers. Meb, one of the pre-race favorites, didn’t falter after Rupp moved ahead and cruised to an easy-looking second. Jared Ward, on many people’s short list of contenders, ran a smart race to capture the coveted third spot on the US team. Luke Puksedra was the unfortunate fourth place finisher.
On the women’s side, Shalene Flanagan and Amy Cragg ran as teammates and pretty much dominated the race. Flanagan did waver a bit towards the end, and was passed by Desiree Linden, who ran a measured race appropriate to the conditions. Kara Goucher had briefly threatened to break into the top three but in the end had to settle for fourth.
ABers in the Mix
Though he didn’t make the team, Tyler Pennel provided perhaps the most interesting part of the race when he upped the tempo with a 4:56 in the 16th mile; he doubled down with a 4:50 in the 17th mile that only Rupp and Keflezighi matched. He paid somewhat for his efforts but didn’t crumble and he finished fifth. Right behind him was Matt Llano giving ABers four of the top six spots. Jeffrey Eggleston also did well with a very creditable 13th place showing.
|Full Results Here|
In the women’s race, AB had two top-twenty finishers in Esther Atkins (11th) and Susanna Sullivan (20th). Sara Hall made a strong effort before dropping out, and Deena Kastor, who removed herself from the race on Thursday was the honorary starter.
|54||Kaitlin Gregg Goodman||2:48:22|
|Full Results Here|
On the Scene
After witnessing the race up close from just behind the barriers, AB founder Jack Wickens summed up his thoughts on the day:
While watching the race unfold it struck me that it was an environment that exposed ANY little weakness. The sharp turns would aggravate any niggling injury or tendency-to-cramp, the heat put a premium on getting the hydration and fueling tactics perfect, the loops severely tested the will-to-go-on (tons of DNFs), and of course the quality of the field probably made it hard for the runners to get into their own zone and rhythm with so many talented people ahead, behind and around them as ‘distractions’.
Did You Notice?
- Meb was in his UCLA colors while running past the USC campus
- Meb and Galen exchanging “pleasantries” as Meb felt Galen was crowding him
- The attrition rate was 37% (61 out of 166 starters) for the men and 25% (49 out of 198 starters) for the women
- Amy Cragg waited as long as she could before leaving her struggling teammate Shalene Flanagan with Linden bearing down on both
- Temperatures were in the low 70s by the finish and even though the humidity was a kind 37%, clearly the heat was a factor in the “hottest” trials marathon ever
— Esther Atkins (@ErbyAtkins) February 14, 2016
When u look 4ward 2 something 4 so long it kills when it goes wrong. Had a hard time adjusting 2 the heat & ended up passing out & stopping
— Alana Hadley (@AlanaHadley) February 13, 2016
Running my first marathon was the single most difficult yet satisfying experiences of my life so far. Now I get to say I’ve run a marathon though! Special thanks to @asics_gtc_elite, @soleus_running, @rollrecovery, @athletebizusa, @believetrainingjournal, and my friends and family for of your support and making it possible for me to run in the Olympic trials! #LA2016 #olympictrials #marathon
Very hard day today, ran through cramping muscles til I physically could no longer. Thank you for everyone’s love and support! — Sara Hall (@SaraHall3) February 14, 2016
6th place at the US Olympic Marathon Trials this morning. Proud of the way I competed – this is just the beginning! pic.twitter.com/bvjMZCHvWj
— Matt Llano (@MattLlano) February 14, 2016
— Jennifer Bergman (@Jenbergy) February 15, 2016
And summing it all up perfectly:
Woof, that was a rough one! 26.2 in 80 degree temps was challenging, to say the least. Proud of my first 15 miles, the last bit was a slow + agonizing death march, but I am proud to say I finished, especially on a day with so many DNFs. A huge thank you to all those supporting out on the course, cheering from home while watching the broadcast, and for all your kind words. It’s been an incredible journey, and this is just the beginning! On to track and the 10k! #olympictrials #marathon @stravatrackclub @stravarun @womenssportsfoundation @wfmrhodeisland @powerbar @nuunhydration @runsra_cim #LA2016 A photo posted by Kaitlin Gregg Goodman (@runnerkg) on