Track Shorts: The Olympic Trials Marathon

The women's race across the starting line. PC: Jack Wickens

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.

Place Name Time
2 Meb Keflezighi 2:12:20
3 Jared Ward 2:13:00
5 Tyler Pennel 2:14:57
6 Matt Llano 2:15:16
13 Jeffrey Eggleston 2:17:20
30 Scott Bauhs 2:23:02
75 Joseph Gray 2:31:20
77 David Laney 2:31:46
82 Tyler Andrews 2:33:40
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.

Place Name Time
11 Esther Atkins 2:38:02
20 Susanna Sullivan 2:41:25
49 Meghan Peyton 2:46:46
53 Sarah Cummings 2:48:01
54 Kaitlin Gregg Goodman 2:48:22
61 Jennifer Bergman 2:49:06
82 Nicole DiMercurio 2:52:17
93 Olivia Mickle 2:53:55
146 Emily Gordon 3:15:11
DNF Samantha Bluske
DNF Alana Hadley
DNF Sara Hall
DNS Deena Kastor
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



And summing it all up perfectly:




Meb and Galen Rupp

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    • 2

      HaHa. Correct! I wanted so badly to say hello and wish you well, but I was trying to be hyper-respectful and not bother you just before the race. Hmmm….now that I think about it, maybe taking a photo during the national anthem isn’t exactly “respectful” 🙂

      • 3

        There were so many people I wanted to see and say hello to, but never got a chance! What a crazy event. I wish there had been a fair somewhere after the race for all of us to come out and see people! Maybe AthleteBiz can host one in 2020?? 😉

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