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On Leap Day, Wilkerson Given hopes to take an Olympic leap – although an Olympic run might be a better description.
The former Mountain Brook high school distance runner will be competing in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials marathon on Feb. 29 in Atlanta. The course runs through the heart of Atlanta and past monuments from the 1996 Olympic Games.
The 2020 event has one of the largest Olympic Trials field ever, with 261 men and 511 women having run qualification standards. The top three finishers in both men’s and women’s races will make up the U.S. marathon team for the 2020 Summer Games, being held in Tokyo July 24 to Aug. 9.
“I think there’s a group of 15-20 guys who all have a legitimate shot of making the team, but it just depends on the day,” Given said. “Marathons are hard to predict because a lot can happen in the course of a race.”
The race starts at 11 a.m. CST and will be televised by NBC.
This will be Given’s second time running in the Olympic Trials marathon. He competed in the 2016 trials in Los Angeles and finished 54th with a time of 2:27.50.
Given, 28, qualified for the 2020 trials by running 2:11.44 in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last fall.
“It’s going to be a tough race, but I wouldn’t say there’s any pressure on me,” Given said. “I’m more excited about the opportunity.”
Given will be competing in his backyard, so to speak. He moved to Atlanta from The Woodlands, Texas, in 2018 and is a professional runner with the Atlanta Track Club Elite.
“The Atlanta track club was definitely part of my decision to move to Atlanta,” Given said. “The job I had in Texas had flexible relocation.
“Being from the Southeast, Atlanta is close to home, close to where I went to college. I have college friends and some high school friends who live in the Atlanta area.”
Shortly after joining Atlanta Elite, Given won the 2018 Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon in 1:02.48. He also finished seventh in the USATF Half Marathon Championships in May 2018.(02/20/2020) ⚡AMP
The 2020 US Olympic Trials for both men and women will take place in Atlanta, Ga on Sunday Feb 29. Runners had to qualify by running certain standards beforehand. The trials are hosted by the Atlanta Track club. The course runs through the heart of Atlanta and past monuments from the 1996 Olympic Games Most countries around the world use...more...
Kaulen has a lot going on.
She is a mother, wife, an intervention specialist at Central Crossing High School and she’s been an avid runner since the seventh grade.
“Running; it brings me happiness,” Kaulen said. “It brings me peace. It brings me time to think. It gives me time to analyze my day and what’s going on.”
Running also brings Kaulen challenges – challenges like the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, which will take place at about 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, February 29.
“To qualify for the Olympic Trials you had to either run a 2:37, which gets you in the A qualifier or B qualifier is under 2:45 flat,” she said. “And I ran a 2:42:48 at the Chicago Marathon this past October.”
That race pushed Kaulen into the Olympic Trials for the second time.“I feel good, she said. “I feel like my training has gone really, really well. I’m hitting a lot of hard workouts; running at marathon pace or under marathon pace, which will help me in Atlanta.”
That training, which averages about 75 miles each week, also runs over and into Kaulen’s role as an educator.“Running gives me time to think, so I’ve come up with some great lesson plans while running because it gives me time to think about this and that and how well this student is doing or what I need to do for this student.” She said.
Kaulen tells 10TV she hopes it can inspire her students along the way.
“There’s so many obstacles and not every day you’re going to feel good to be able to run and not every day are you going to set a goal to do something and you’re going to achieve it,” she said. “So I feel like I can relate to my students who have many obstacles.”The top three men and women finishers at the Olympic Trials will be eligible to represent the country at the summer Tokyo Olympic Games.(02/20/2020) ⚡AMP
The 2020 US Olympic Trials for both men and women will take place in Atlanta, Ga on Sunday Feb 29. Runners had to qualify by running certain standards beforehand. The trials are hosted by the Atlanta Track club. The course runs through the heart of Atlanta and past monuments from the 1996 Olympic Games Most countries around the world use...more...
Megan Youngren became one of 63 women at the California International Marathon to officially qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic marathon trials, the race that will determine the team for Tokyo. Her 40th-place finish in 2:43:52 came as both a relief and a reward, after four months of intense training. But it also marked another significant moment: With her qualification, Youngren is set to make history on Feb. 29 as the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.
“I’m open to talking about it to people because that’s the only way you make progress on stuff like this,” says Youngren, who first started taking hormone medication as a college student in 2011. She came out publicly as transgender in ’12 and finalized paperwork for her transition in ’19.
“To my knowledge, and that of other staff who have been with USATF for many years, we do not recall a trans competitor at our Marathon Trials,” spokesperson Susan Hazzard says. Just last month, Chris Mosier was interviewed by The New York Times as the first transgender athlete to qualify for and participate in an Olympic trials in the gender with which he identifies. Mosier is the first trans man to compete with cisgender men at the 50-kilometer race walk in Santee, Calif. “For me, it’s all about making a pathway for all the trans athletes that come after me,” he told the Times.
In 2013, Youngren started running to lose weight and boost her health after transitioning, and now she primarily races on trails and runs up and down mountains for fun. Youngren says that running helped alleviate any lingering symptoms from a case of shingles. By 2014, she was running consistently, but with little structure to her training. An Alaska native, Youngren ran her first marathon at the 2017 Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks in 4:48, on a course with an unforgiving 3,285 feet of elevation gain and loss. Despite the difficulty and cramping, she credits that race as the one that got her hooked on the 26.2-mile distance.
At the 2019 Los Angeles Marathon, Youngren managed to get her time down to 3:06:42, which propelled her to seek out a sub-three-hour goal for the first time. At the time, she was working at a bakery and her job required a lot of manual labor, but she still managed to fit in runs after work. When the bakery closed in September, it freed up some time in her day to run more, and Youngren’s mileage eventually reached 85 per week, with the majority on trails.
“I thought that if I worked incredibly hard and took some huge risks that I could run a 2:45,” Youngren says. “People will try to put it down by saying, ‘That’s too easy because you’re trans.’ But what about the 500 other women who will qualify? There’s probably someone with the exact same story. I trained hard. I got lucky. I dodged injuries. I raced a lot, and it worked out for me. That’s the story for a lot of other people, too.”
Before the California International Marathon, Youngren’s previous PR was a 2:52:33 set in August at the Anchorage RunFest’s Humpy’s Marathon, where she battled heavy winds and was on qualifying pace through 18 miles.
“I’ve had multiple times this year when I thought I was going to hit that time but then fell apart,” Youngren says. “This time, it was really hard but I made it through. The race itself broke me mentally.”(02/13/2020) ⚡AMP
The 2020 US Olympic Trials for both men and women will take place in Atlanta, Ga on Sunday Feb 29. Runners had to qualify by running certain standards beforehand. The trials are hosted by the Atlanta Track club. The course runs through the heart of Atlanta and past monuments from the 1996 Olympic Games Most countries around the world use...more...
Last week Nike released their newest line of shoes which includes the Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, complete with a 39.5 mm stack height, falling just under World Athletics’ new ruling of a maximum of 40 mm. Since the release of the so-called super shoe shoe (that conveniently follows all of World Athletics’ new rules) there has been heavy speculation that Nike was tipped off, but WA claims that’s not the case.
World Athletics told The Guardian last week, “We spoke to several shoe companies, including Nike, a few days before we released our new shoe regulations to let them know what we were planning. But that was the extent of it.”
Alex Hutchinson has written extensively on this topic (including in the current issue of Canadian Running Magazine). He spoke to Nike and claimed on Twitter that according to the company, the commercial version of the Air Zoom Alphafly Next% isn’t all that different from the shoe Eliud Kipchoge wore to break the two hour barrier in October.
Here are the major takeaways from the thread: 1.- Kipchoge’s Alphafly prototype was legal, and basically identical to the upcoming consumer version. 2.- World Athletics measured a size eight as 39.5 mm [stack height], which is their reference size (WA rules actually say size 42). 3.- Heel-toe offset will be 8 mm in commercial shoe.
If the Kipchoge shoe was, in fact, nearly identical to the consumer version (available February 29 in limited release), then perhaps World Athletics’ assertion that no shoe company had advance notice is credible.
When asked last week about what the future holds for running shoe technology, Hutchinson points out that we don’t actually know how good the Alphafly is yet. He wrote in an email, “Seeing Kipchoge run sub-two in the earlier prototype was obviously impressive, but there was a lot going on in that race. With the original Vaporfly, we had actual external lab data telling us how good it was. But for subsequent models, we’re just guessing. Just because it looks crazy doesn’t mean it’s substantially better than previous models. I guess we’ll find out—but for now, that knowledge gap makes predictions about the Alphafly’s impact difficult.”
The true test will come at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials when the shoe will go head-to-head against other companies’ carbon-plated creations for the first time. That event will have spectators watching shoes just as closely as the runners.(02/11/2020) ⚡AMP
The U.S. Olympic Trials are less than three weeks away. The fields are finalized, the tapers are starting soon and runners and fans are anticipating one of the most exciting trials yet.
Here’s a look at which runners we think are most likely to place in the top three and be named to the U.S. Olympic squad after the February 29 race in Atlanta.
Women’s field.- The favorites to make this Olympic team are Sara Hall (Asics), Des Linden (Brooks), Molly Huddle (Saucony) and Emily Sisson (New Balance). Hall has been extremely consistent over the past year, running personal bests in both the marathon and the half (a 2:22:16 in Berlin and a 1:08 in Houston just a few weeks ago). Linden is a gamer and someone who shows up no matter the conditions. She’s also an Olympic marathon veteran.
Huddle and Sisson are training partners who have helped each other improve over the marathon distance. Huddle has been a staple on the American distance scene for years (she’s a multi-time American record holder) and Sisson is the rising star who has flourished alongside Huddle. The pair own 2:23:08 (Sisson) and 2:26:33 (Huddle) marathon personal bests and know how to show up on race day. But the knock on Sisson is that she’s only run one (albeit, fantastic) marathon, and inexperience could be her downfall.
Our best bet for the top three, in order, is: Hall, Huddle, Linden.
The dark horses.- Jordan Hasay (Nike) and Amy Cragg (Nike) are the dark horses. We just haven’t seen enough to know where these two runners are at. Hasay’s most recent result is a DNF from the Chicago Marathon. Admittedly, her training group had just folded and her former coach was charged with doping infractions, so her racing conditions weren’t ideal. But Hasay hasn’t even gotten on a start line since then.
As for Cragg, she’s the 2017 World Championship medallist and 2016 Olympian over the distance. Cragg’s results are few and far between over the past two years, but she put it all together at the Tokyo Marathon in 2018 to run a 2:21:42–one of the fastest American times in history. Both Hasay and Cragg boast the best personal bests of the bunch, but with no indication of fitness, it’s impossible to predict where they’ll end up in 20 days’ time.
Men’s field.- The favorites in the men’s race are Galen Rupp (Nike), Leonard Korir (Nike), Scott Fauble (Hoka) and Jared Ward (Saucony). Rupp was almost a dark horse, due to his poor resume from the past year, but on Saturday he clocked a 1:01:19 in a tune up half-marathon in Arizona. So he’s in good shape.
As for the other three, all hold personal bests from 2019 around the same time. Korir’s is 2:07:56 from Amsterdam and Fauble and Ward’s are both from Boston 2019 at 2:09:09 and 2:09:25. Among these three it’s really a toss-up, based on past performances, as to who makes the team.
Our best bet for the top three, in order, is: Rupp, Ward, Korir.
The dark horses.- The dark horses in this event are the masters men: Bernard Lagat (Nike) (45) and Abdi Abdirahman (Nike) (42). Like in women’s marathoning, the men are also proving that age is just a number on the race course. Lagat and Abdirahman have both recently clocked 2:11 and 2:12 marathons and are in the conversation for the team if they have a good day in Atlanta.(02/11/2020) ⚡AMP
Emma Kertesz returns to the 2020 United States Olympic Team Trials in the Marathon later this month in Atlanta.
Kertesz is a graduate of Central Catholic High School and a former University of Toledo runner. She competed four years ago in the same event in Los Angeles where she finished 39th.
Returning to the trials for the second straight cycle was painful.
"I tore my hamstring," Kertesz said. "I ran the California International Marathon to qualify for the trials, and then I've been dealing with what I thought was some high hamstring tendinitis. I'm pretty sure on even 80 percent training I'll be able to hit the qualifying standard and then I'll deal with my hamstring after.
"And then I got an MRI and found out that I actually had a tear in my hamstring. So I ended up take off almost three months."
But Kertesz still had a spot in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon. She recently took a leave from her teaching job to focus on applying for doctoral programs; she would ultimately like to work at the local or state level with education curriculum or research.
The doctoral program starts in the coming months, all while running an average of 85 miles per week over the last several weeks while training for the trials.
"Now that the field is doubled in size than it was in 2016 where I was 39th," Kertesz said. "But I think that I have a good shot of placing in the top 40. I'd like to be competitive and maybe I eke out a personal best that would be great, especially on that kind of course."
If Kertesz is not busy enough, she still has a side project she is working on related to her family's ancestry -- specifically her father David. At 18-years-old, he found out he was adopted and is a Navajo Native American.
"It's emotional but it's cathartic for both of us," Kertesz said. "Ultimately, it's brought us closer together and given me a chance to reflect on my dad more as a person more than just being my dad."
This project also has influence in her running life.
"I have a greater appreciation for diversity in this sport," Kertesz said. "(Watching videos of Billy Mills win the gold medal) that's really awesome that a Native American who came out of nowhere really if you watch that race to win a gold medal that was just so great."
Mills won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics in the 10,000-meter race. At the time, Mills set a world record in the 10,000-meter event and is still the only American to ever win gold in the 10,000-meter race.
"You don't really see in terms of American distance runners a lot of Native Americans being represented," Kertesz said. "It feels really special to be a part of that and to represent my ethnicity on this stage."
One strategy she will carry with her to this stage in Atlanta is something she learned from Dave Carpenter, her coach at Central Catholic, is to make sure to stay competitive in the race and not worry about setting a personal record.
When Kertesz competed for the Rockets, she was an All-American in the 10,000-meters at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Kertesz currently lives and trains in Boulder, Colo.(02/10/2020) ⚡AMP
With seven weeks until the Olympic Marathon Trials, the defending women’s champion, Amy Cragg, is training well and putting in hundreds of miles in the mountains of Colorado. Despite a rough year in 2019, she expects to contend for a spot on the Olympic team bound for Tokyo. It would be her third Olympic team.
After the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Cragg, who turns 36 next week, sat down with her husband, Alistair Cragg, and her coach, Jerry Schumacher, to talk about her future.
The results of that conversation: They decided everything in her training would be geared toward making the Games in 2020, even though she briefly considered stopping her career then.
“I’m still around,” she told Runner’s World.
Cragg had a spectacular seven-month stretch between 2017 and 2018. In August 2017, she won the bronze medal at the world championships in London. The following February at the Tokyo Marathon, she finished third in 2:21:42. It was a a PR by almost six minutes, and the performance put her fifth on the U.S. all-time list.
She was announced as part of the Chicago Marathon field for 2018 but withdrew with an injury. In 2019, she raced only twice on the roads and both times the results were disappointing. She was seventh in 1:13:27 at the Prague Half Marathon in April, after previously hinting she might attempt to break Molly Huddle’s American record in the event (1:07:25). In August, she struggled at the Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, finishing 14th in 34:40. After that, she withdrew from the 2019 Chicago Marathon.
“It was just overall fatigue,” Cragg said. “I think we just went too hard for too long. I ‘cooked myself’ is what I’ll say. Took some time off when we realized it wasn’t coming around for Chicago. Now I’m feeling a lot better and ready to go.”
Cragg said she went through a period of weeks when she felt tired and worn down, but then she would have glimmers of hope in strong workouts and think she needed to “keep plugging away.” After Beach to Beacon, she realized her fatigue was getting worse instead of better and decided she shouldn’t attempt Chicago.
She took a full three weeks with no running—and followed that up with about a month and a half of slowly building into full training again. At times, she worried her career was ending.
“You talk to any distance runner, you go through those ups and downs regularly,” she said. “It’s like you just can’t seem to get out of the slump. You don’t know whether to push harder or let go. I’ve been used to it over the years. But there was definitely still that fear that I might have overdone it; I’d hope it’s not undoable.”(01/21/2020) ⚡AMP
The injury is the result of a mountain bike incident, but it sounds like only a minor setback for his training to run the marathon in the 2020 Olympic trials in Atlanta, Georgia, on Feb. 29. He’s optimistic that he’ll soon be running 100 miles a week again.
Finan has made many major life decisions based on running, and when he runs at the trials on Leap Day, he’s accomplishing a goal that he once thought had disappeared years ago.
Before moving to Eugene in 2015, Finan attended University of Cincinnati because he wanted to pursue engineering while also running in a competitive collegiate conference. After graduating in 2012, he wanted to run in a post-collegiate group, but because he was injured during the last part of his fifth season, he says those running groups didn’t want him.
He worked in Cincinnati for a year and got healthy. In 2013, he ran the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Minnesota, finishing in 1:04:42. He attracted the attention of Team USA Minnesota, so he moved to Minneapolis to run with the group.
But after again suffering some injuries from the higher-intensity philosophy of the coach there, Finan says he decided to run with Team Run Eugene, so he looked for work in the area.
Today, Finan is coached by Tim Sykes, who was a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Oregon before moving to Western Kentucky University for a full-time coaching job.
A self-described realist, Finan says he’s not expecting to make it in the top three on the U.S. team that would compete in Tokyo. Judging by the results from the 2012 Olympic trials in Houston, to make the team he’d need to finish under 2:10 — meaning he’d have to run a 5-minute pace.
He’s setting the bar at a top-25 finish, but he’s not necessarily running the trials to make the team. It’s about completing promises he made to himself while in high school.
He set two life goals then: to run a 4-minute mile and run in the Olympic trials. He completed the first goal, but missed the second goal in 2016 by seven seconds and didn’t make the trials for the 5k event.
Finan says he was devastated that he didn’t make the trials. He didn’t run for a few months and drank and ate to excess.
“I had my mind set on the trials. I had my heart set, my body, my soul to compete in the Olympic trials,” he says. “I believed it in my entire being that this thing was going to be true.”
He adds that he took it as a given that he would be running in the trials and was already thinking about preparing himself for the actual race. “I was crushed, and I was definitely depressed,” he says about missing the cutoff time. “I felt like I had worked so hard — for what?”
After taking a few months off from running — the longest non-injury break he’d ever taken — he talked with some friends and hit the pavement running again. It was a rough first month back because he hadn’t treated his body well during that break, he says.
About 12 weeks of training later, thanks to a dedication to weight training and years of high-volume running, he made his marathon debut at California International Marathon in Sacramento, finishing at 2:17:51.
The result meant that he could — after missing trials in the 5k — satisfy that other running goal he established for himself. He returned to Sacramento in 2017, finishing the race at 2:16:42, qualifying to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials.(01/03/2020) ⚡AMP
Two and a half years ago, Erin Menefee didn’t know if she’d be able to run competitively again after having open heart surgery. But on December 8, the 27-year-old physical therapist realized her dream when she qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials at the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento with a time of 2:43:10.
Surrounded by dozens of other women who qualified for the first time, Menefee basked in the accomplishment of a goal that motivated her throughout the long recovery. For the first time since she underwent surgery for a rare congenital heart defect in July 2017, she ran a personal best by more than eight minutes.
Setting a lifetime PR that beat the Trials standard by almost two minutes wasn’t just a running milestone for the San Diego native—it was a turning point in her life.
“Not having the definition of ‘post-heart surgery PR’ for this one just feels like a big weight [has been] lifted,” Menefee told Runner’s World. “I’m finally back to who I was before.”
Menefee was nearing the end of a long run in December 2015 when her heart started beating at an alarmingly fast pace and pain shot down her left arm. At just 24 years old, the former collegiate runner for the University of Arizona thought she was having a heart attack. Menefee could barely breathe, but she managed to get herself to the emergency room.
After a series of tests, her cardiologist discovered that she had partial anomalous pulmonary venous return, a condition where the veins that are supposed to carry blood to the heart’s upper left chamber instead carry it to the heart’s upper right chamber, or to other blood vessels. When this happens, poorly-oxygenated blood mixes with oxygen-rich blood, thus robbing the body of oxygen. The diagnosis meant that Menefee was only getting about 60 percent of the oxygen needed from her lungs to her body.
Because she was a healthy, young runner competing at a high level, the doctors decided to forgo the surgery option for periodic check-ups on the size of her heart. Eight months later, Menefee was getting lightheaded standing up from a chair and the tips of her fingers turned blue from the lack of oxygen traveling to the rest of her body. When she went in for more tests, they discovered that her heart was so enlarged that it required surgery.
On July 26, 2017—after she graduated from San Diego State University’s doctor of physical therapy program and days after she took her board exams—Menefee went in for surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. During the nine-hour procedure, doctors built a stent and moved her vein into its proper place from her heart to her lung. In order to reach her organs, they had to saw open her sternum.
The surgery was a success, and six weeks later, Menefee was cleared to go on her first run: an 8:49 mile.
Just five months before her surgery, Menefee had made her 26.2 debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon, finishing in 2:51:31—within striking distance of 2:45:00, the 2020 Trials time standard. She trained for the marathon with the San Diego-based Prado Racing Team under Paul Wellman.(12/23/2019) ⚡AMP
Des Linden was undecided whether to race the Feb. 29 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials as recently as a month ago. But now Linden, the 2018 Boston Marathon winner, is not only committed to trials but also the April 20 Boston Marathon.
It would be, at 51 days, by far her shortest break between marathons, which has so far included 19 marathons dating to 2007. She’s 36 years old, and it may be her last Olympic cycle.
“I only have so many more chances at Boston. I love being there. Obviously, the Olympics [window] is closing down as well,” she said. “I like the trials and the competitive way we pick our team. I can’t imagine, at this point, watching either of those races and feeling like I had no effect on either outcome.”
If Linden does make the Olympic marathon team — by placing top three at trials in Atlanta — she would be in line to race four marathons over a little more than nine months when including last month’s New York City Marathon.
Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa and American Sara Hall ran the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, 29 days and 35 days, respectively, after racing the world championships and Berlin Marathon. Neither finished New York, however.
This past August, when Linden committed to the New York City Marathon, she added that she might not race the trials. After her performance in New York — the top U.S. woman in sixth place — she decided she was ready for the trials-Boston double, which she had been considering since placing fifth at this past April’s Boston Marathon.
As far as how it will impact her trials build-up, Linden said her team will re-evaluate the process weekly. She hasn’t committed to a pre-trials half marathon.
“We’re obviously aware of what’s down the line, so we’re trying to get as much quality as we can without going too deep into the well,” she said. “It’s certainly going to be out there, but we’re trying to run well at both and not say, ‘This isn’t going well,’ and just train through it.”
Linden has been treating every marathon as if it could be her last. She has been incredibly consistent, placing no worse than eighth in her last 11 marathon starts dating to 2013.
Neither of Linden’s previous Olympic experiences was especially memorable. She dropped out of her first one in 2012 with a stress fracture in her femur. She was seventh in Rio, missing a medal by less than two minutes. The Kenyan-born gold and silver medalists were later busted for EPO and are serving lengthy doping bans.
“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove and anything unfinished,” at the Olympics, Linden said in August. “Quite frankly, the last experience is a hard sell to get back out there to try to compete for medals when you’re not even really sure what the field is all about. It’s a little bit difficult to be excited about that with the way we are about the [World Marathon] Majors. People investing in anti-doping have really been solving that problem [at the majors]. It’s a little tricky [at the Olympics], but certainly representing your country is special.”
Linden is the most experienced of a deep group of U.S. Olympic marathon hopefuls after the recent retirement of four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan.(12/17/2019) ⚡AMP
The 2020 US. Olympic Marathon Trials on Feb. 29 were marked on Gwen Jorgensen’s calendar since her Nov. 2017 announcement that she was leaving the triathlon to pursue running full time in hopes of winning the 2020 Olympic gold medal in the marathon.
But now, less than three months out from the event, Jorgensen announced that she will not run the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and instead focus on making the U.S. team for the Summer Games on the track in the 10,000 meters.
“It’s a multitude of emotions,” Jorgensen, 33, says. “I’m disappointed. At the same time, I’m also excited. I’m at a point where I’m running 70 miles per week and training is going well. I just know that if I went to the trials, running 70 miles per week, I’d be hoping that I made a team. That’s not what I want to do at an Olympic Trials.
I want to go in confident and knowing that I have the ability to make a team. My goals in the marathon aren’t changing. My timeline is.”
Heel surgery forced Jorgensen, who converted to distance running after winning the Rio Olympic triathlon, to pass up the Feb. 29 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and focus on the track and field trials in June in the 10,000m and, probably, the 5000m.
She made the decision after recent talks with her coach, Jerry Schumacher, following a difficult recovery from late May surgery to correct Haglund’s deformity.
“I could get bent out of shape and sad about it, but at the end of the day, I’m excited because I know this path that I’m on will not only be a successful route, but I also think it will lead to success long term in the marathon," she says. "I’m confident in my abilities on the track."
Jorgensen’s goal was a lofty one from the onset. No American woman has won gold in the marathon at the Olympics since Joan Benoit Samuelson’s victory in the 1984 inaugural running. The 2020 trials, where the top three finishers qualify for Tokyo, are shaping up to be one of the most competitive races of the year, as American women’s distance running is at its highest level with recent World Marathon Major victories by Shalane Flanagan at the 2017 New York City Marathon and Desiree Linden at the 2018 Boston Marathon.
Even after giving birth to her son Stanley in Aug. 2017, Jorgensen could have returned to the triathlon and arguably been a contender to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals. But she and her family decided to move to Portland, Ore., and once settled there, Jorgensen signed a professional running contract with Nike and joined the Bowerman Track Club.
Jorgensen worked her way to the marathon by racing on the track in the spring of 2018 and ran a few U.S.A. Track and Field road race championships. She says her training went well, nailing all but one workout in 12 weeks. But in the three days before she was set to compete in the Chicago Marathon, Jorgesen battled a fever and underestimated the effects of running while sick. She finished in a disappointing 2:36:23 in her professional marathon debut.
Now fully healed, healthy and recovered, Jorgensen is working her way back to train with her Bowerman teammates. Her day sometimes includes a hill sprints, a track workout, pelvic floor therapist treatment, physical therapy exercises for her achilles and then an evening workout before returning to her family.
“I think it’s important not to be afraid when you need to admit that your goal needs to change,” Jorgensen says. “I’m not going to say that I’m failing because I still want to have my marathon goals, but the timeline has changed. It’s still important to have big goals and to share those goals. It holds everyone accountable.”(12/05/2019) ⚡AMP
Meredith Tribble sets no limits on her demanding lifestyle. Married and mother of two young children, a full-time job, involved in her church, and all with the years steadily creeping up.
There’s room in there for more, she felt, as long as the day starts a little earlier.
So before 5 o’clock most mornings, the former Davis standout heads out her front door to run in the dark. The sun will rise at some point, maybe halfway through a hard 14-mile tempo run, but she’ll be back home in time to get the rest of the family up and going.
It’s out there on the trails and roads in the small hours of the day that Tribble found her purest form of joy in running. It’s worth it, she believes, to add this challenge on top of so many others because of the rewards to be found.
In just her third marathon last month, Tribble qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials next year, winning her age group while placing ninth overall at the Indianapolis Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 42 minutes, 41 seconds.
“It was a goal and I’m just so proud of accomplishing it,” she said from her home in Riverside, Calif. “It wasn’t so much the time that motivated me but the drive to push myself to new limits. Just to power through physically, emotionally and mentally. It was very much a spirit-led journey.”
In her debut effort, just to test the legs at the 26.2-mile distance, Meredith ran 2:58 in early spring of 2018. That was easy enough, so she ramped up training and three months later she clocked 2:45:19, just missing the Trials standard by 19 seconds.
Meredith did, however, qualify for the USATF Marathon Championships in Sacramento in early December. Her fitness was solid, as evidenced by a 1:15 half marathon in October, but on the day of the race she backed out feeling ill. She soon discovered she was pregnant, but less than a month later she miscarried.
“Emotionally it was a very difficult time,” she said. “I had to give my body a long time to recover.”
The next step comes on Feb. 29 when Meredith will join the fastest women’s marathoners in the country in Atlanta for the U.S. Olympic Trials. At the front, this race will determine the three qualifiers for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. For the rest, as with the men on the same day, it’s an opportunity to compete in what is essentially a national championship.(12/03/2019) ⚡AMP
Jordan Hasay went into the Chicago Marathon on October 13 in excellent shape, hoping to make a run at the American record in the distance. But about two miles into the race, she tore her left hamstring. She limped past the 5K mark in 22 minutes before dropping out of the race.It was the bitter end of a tumultuous two weeks.
On September 30, her longtime coach, Alberto Salazar, was hit with a four-year ban from track and field for anti-doping violations. Hasay, 28, said she never witnessed anything improper in her time with Salazar and his team, the Nike Oregon Project. On October 11, Nike shut down the Oregon Project, leaving the athletes who had trained with Salazar to work out new coaching and training situations.
The timing of Hasay’s injury and the coaching upheaval were not ideal: American marathoners are preparing for the Olympic Marathon Trials on February 29, 2020 in Atlanta.
The upheaval has continued this month: On November 7, in an explosive opinion video in The New York Times, Mary Cain, a former teen prodigy who trained with Hasay and others at the Oregon Project, alleged she was “emotionally and physically abused” in her time with Salazar.
On a recent trip to Monaco, she formalized a relationship with Radcliffe to be her “mentor-coach.” Radcliffe held the world record in the women’s marathon, 2:15:25, for 16 years. The record fell last month to Brigid Kosgei, who ran 2:14:04, at the Chicago Marathon, where Hasay dropped out.
Hasay has long admired Radcliffe. As Hasay was training for her first marathon, Boston in 2017, her late mother used to call Hasay by the pet name “Paula.” Radcliffe and Hasay first met at the 2017 Chicago Marathon, where Hasay ran 2:20:57 and became the second-fastest American marathoner behind Deena Kastor. Hasay and Radcliffe have kept in touch since then.
Last week, together in Monaco, they sat down and mapped out Hasay’s training for the next 15 weeks until the Trials. Hasay said she believes she’s the first athlete to be coached by Radcliffe and specified that Radcliffe, and not her husband, Gary Lough, who oversees the training of Mo Farah, will be in charge.
Hasay will stay in California and communicate remotely with Radcliffe. “I’ve always really looked up to her as a role model,” Hasay said. “Since we first met two years ago in Chicago, we’ve kept in touch and she’s given me a lot of advice. She knows that I have had some very good coaches in the past. We’re not going to go in and change a bunch of things. At this point, I mainly need someone to hold me back and make sure I stay injury free. She’s such a kind person.”
After two weeks off from running after the Chicago Marathon, Hasay has returned to running almost pain free, she said, although the hamstring feels tight at faster speeds. On November 19, she did a hill workout.
Hasay said Nike staff were “incredibly supportive” of her as she considered new coaches, and they were open to her having a coach who didn’t have a relationship with the company if that is what she wanted. Radcliffe, though, was a Nike-sponsored athlete throughout her career and maintains a relationship with the company.
She is in the process of selling her home in Beaverton, Oregon, near Nike headquarters, and she will live with her father in Arroyo Grande, California, until she eventually buys a home in that area. She is more suited to the climate there, she said, where it is sunny and warm year-round, than the rainy winters of the Pacific Northwest. She also said the community has supported her since she began running at age 12. Being home “will add a lot of happiness,” she said.
When asked about Cain, Hasay said she knew her teammate was struggling during her 10 months training in Portland with the Oregon Project, but she didn’t know the extent of the problems.
“I was pretty shocked with the video,” Hasay said. “Obviously I feel really sad and I texted her and said I’m really sorry. That if I knew that it was that bad, if there was anything I could have done, I just apologize.”
Hasay said she and Cain were fairly close but she had “no idea” that Cain was cutting herself, as she said in the Times video. Cain also said Salazar was constantly trying to get her to lose weight to hit an arbitrary number, 114 pounds.
Hasay said she thought Cain’s youth and the intensity of the training and the program were a poor combination, but she expressed sympathy for both Cain and Salazar.
“It’s so sad, everyone was trying their best, though,” she said. “I really think you can’t point fingers and it’s really easy from the outside to kick Alberto under the bus. People make mistakes. He could have handled it at times differently. He really was doing his best. He wasn’t trying to cause any of the problems that she described. I sympathize with both sides.
“That’s why it’s hard—I haven’t commented on it—I don’t really have a side. I didn’t experience what she experienced, but I can see how it was so difficult. I think that her message is a good one, addressing these issues, they are important, I think it’s good overall that we’re looking at some of things.”
Hasay continued that when an athlete is still growing and going through puberty, getting to a certain weight is “difficult.” Older athletes on the team, she said, were able to push back in discussions with Salazar on weight.
“Alberto, if you ask me is he obsessed about weight? Yes, but he’s obsessed about everything,” she said. “He wanted to cut my hair [to reduce drag], he wanted me to wear a wetsuit in the Boston Marathon. It’s just every little detail is covered and weight happens to be one of those things.”
Salazar told Hasay she needed to gain weight at times. “He’s told me, ‘You don’t need to be this lean all year. I’d like you to go back up.’ We’ve had discussions. I think when you’re older and more experienced, you can speak up. It’s hard when she’s so young and still growing. It was just the whole situation wasn’t the right fit, unfortunately.”(11/29/2019) ⚡AMP
Jared Ward has been working on his confidence lately. He figures that’s an important part of improving his marathon game, good as it already is. His resume includes a sixth in the 2016 Rio Olympic Marathon, sixth at New York City last year, PR of 2:09:25 at Boston this spring.
To compete with the big boys … well, you gotta be there at halfway, hold on until 20 miles, and then bring it home. In Sunday’s 2019 TCS New York City Marathon, Ward got to 20 miles with the leaders. Then he had to deal with the effects.
“I was glad that I managed to put myself in there for so long, but the last three or four miles were really tough,” he said after finishing sixth in 2:10:45. “That was painful. There wasn’t much left in the tank. It’s scary to do something you haven’t done before. But if you want to get to the podium, that’s the only way.”
Ward had finished sixth the previous year also, in 2:12:24, almost two minutes slower than today.
“I’m happy,” he said. “I wanted something that would solidify my breakthrough in Boston. I wanted to convince myself that I’ll be a different runner in the Marathon Trials in February than I was four years ago in Los Angeles.” Ward finished surprise third in Los Angeles and made the U.S. Olympic team for Rio.
The NYC Marathon does not use pacesetters, and a victory is much more important than your time (notwithstanding time-bonuses that kick in at 2:09:59 and faster), so the early pace in recent years has been moderate. Today, Shura Kitata started with a ludicrous 5:02 first mile on the uphill side of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.
“The pace had been ebbing and flowing,” Ward observed. “I’d feel good one mile and not so good the next. When that happens, you just have to trust that you’ll feel better in a mile or two. Then they surged again and just didn’t come back.”
In Ward’s next marathon, the U.S. Trials on February 29 in Atlanta, he won’t be the one chasing everyone else. Indeed, many eyes will be on him—everyone’s number-one pick to finish in the top three—and many of his competitors will be gauging their pace against his.
“I don’t consider myself the favorite for Atlanta,” he said, “but I’m a statistician and I tend to make odds on races. Before the Los Angeles Trials, I figured I had a 35 percent chance of making the team. I think my odds will be a little better in Atlanta.”(11/07/2019) ⚡AMP
Qualified athletes may now register for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, to be held on February 29 in Atlanta, Georgia, USATF and Atlanta Track Club announced today.
Registration closes January 22, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PT.
About Atlanta Track Club .- Atlanta Track Club is a nonprofit committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta. Through running and walking, Atlanta Track Club motivates, inspires and engages the community to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
With more than 30,000 members, Atlanta Track Club is the second largest running organization in the United States. In addition to the AJC Peachtree Road Race (peachtreeroadrace.org) – the largest 10K running event in the world, the Publix Atlanta Marathon, PNC Atlanta 10 Miler and Invesco QQQ Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, Atlanta Track Club directs more than 30 events per year.
Through the support of its members and volunteers, Atlanta Track Club also maintains a number of community initiatives including organizing and promoting the Kilometer Kids youth running program to metro Atlanta youth, honoring high school cross country and track and field athletes through Atlanta Track Club’s All-Metro Banquets and supporting the Grady Bicycle EMT program.
With record participation expected and after receiving feedback from America’s best marathoners and coaches, Atlanta Track Club and USATF announced adjustments to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon course. The race organizers will replace a previously planned six-mile-loop with an eight-mile-loop which the athletes will run three times. This change will decrease the number of turns and reduce overall elevation gain on the course.
The updated course utilizes an additional mile of Peachtree Street in the heart of Atlanta. Competitors will begin their race in front of Centennial Olympic Park – the crown jewel of the 1996 Atlanta Games – and head down Marietta Street toward Peachtree. They will proceed three miles north on Peachtree until they pass the intersection of Peachtree and West Peachtree, then turn around and head back down Peachtree in the opposite direction, loop through Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood and return to downtown.
The runners will complete this loop nearly three times before diverting to a three mile final loop that runs under the Rings and Torch structure from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, goes by the Georgia Capitol building and passes by the sports stadiums that house the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta United FC. They will then reach the welcome sight of the finish line inside Centennial Olympic Park.
Eliminated was a loop around the Margaret Mitchell House and onto 10th Street, which included four turns on narrow roads in the span of less than one tenth of a mile.
The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon will be held in Atlanta on Saturday, February 29, 2020 as part of America’s Marathon Weekend. The top three women and top three men will be selected to the team that will compete in the Olympic Marathon in Tokyo next August. Spectators are invited to enjoy the race for free along the route. The race will also be broadcast nationally live on NBC.(09/01/2019) ⚡AMP
Gabrielle Russo, Stony Brook University Assistant Professor of Anthropology is not just training any marathon, she’s training for the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials.
To compete at the trials, runners must meet a qualifying time standard of 2:45. Russo earned her way with a qualifying time of 2:44:51 at the Philadelphia marathon in November 2018 – keeping her dream alive by a scant nine seconds. Only a few hundred women in the entire nation will compete for these three spots; earning the golden Olympic Trials Qualifying ticket is considered an honor in itself.
So far her Olympic Trials quest has been a two-year affair with marathons that began when she completed the Long Island Marathon in May of 2017. Under the coaching of Tommy Nettuno, it’s a quest that will continue until at least February, when the qualifying race takes place in Atlanta on Leap Year Day, February 29, 2020.
Although somewhat new to marathon racing, Russo’s running story actually began as a high schooler in East Stroudsburg, PA, where she was a sprinter and hurdler – and good enough to still hold some local records and a spot in her high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. She continued her passion at Dickinson College where she ran both track and cross country, and where she would take the class that would open the door to her future career.
“I always had an interest in anatomy,” said Russo. “Sophomore year I found my way into an Introduction to Biological Anthropology class and that was it — from that point on there was no plan B.”
Though it set her on the path to what would become her career, the epiphany would also take her off the road. Russo would take nearly a decade off from running as she pursued graduate school, earning her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin in 2013, completing two post-doctoral positions, and then joining the Stony Brook faculty in the Fall 2014 semester. She initially lived in bustling Manhattan and then Queens, but eventually moved to the more open spaces of Long Island. Once there, she quickly joined the nearby Sayville Running Club and dusted off her running shoes.
“Running is almost spiritual to me, it gives my life something that nothing else can,” she said. “It can also be a form of relaxation and meditation, which certainly served me well through my first year in a tenure-track position.”
Seeking to push herself even further, Russo began competing in ultramarathons – which are any races longer than a typical 26.2-mile marathon. She would eventually complete a 50-mile ultramarathon (the JFK 50), finishing sixth overall in the women’s division. It was after that remarkable achievement that she set her sights on the 2020 Olympic Trials and earned a spot on her running team, Rabbit. Her training as a scientist would come to play an important role.(08/30/2019) ⚡AMP
Tracy Guerrette, finally recovered from a fractured bone in her foot, continues her quest to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials scheduled for Feb. 29, 2020, in Atlanta.
But the St. Agatha native won’t be training in the streets of Bangor much longer.
The former two-year basketball captain at the University of Maine is leaving her job as the director of faith formation at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Bangor. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in theology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
“It is something I have been thinking about for a real long time, since my early 20s actually, but I never had a chance to do it,” the 38-year-old Guerrette said. “In the past couple of years, I’ve been considering it more seriously. I’d been praying about it and thought it was a good time to apply.”
She said she was accepted to a couple of schools and chose the Pontifical John Paul II Institute. She is enrolled in a two-year program.
“I feel like I needed to take a step back. It’s almost like a professional sabbatical. I want to study to better myself in my faith,” Guerrette said.
She feels it will help her better serve the Lord and the Catholic Church. It will also give her a variety of career options after she completes her degree.
“I could continue to go to school, I could come back and work for a parish or a diocese or I could teach,” Guerrette said.
“My most prized possessions besides my running shoes are my theology books. But I haven’t had time to read them all because of my work, which is also a blessing,” Guerrette said.
Her degree study will focus on society and the current culture, and she said it will help prepare her to make a difference in people’s lives.
Sarah Bishop’s running career began just a few year ago when she set a goal to run for 30 minutes a few times a week. Now, she’s preparing for the Olympic trials marathon.
The Fairfax, Virginia, resident won the Marine Corps Marathon in October, and then qualified for the Olympic trials at CIM in December. But it all started a few years ago with short runs squeezed in between work and taking care of her four young daughters, all of whom are currently under the age of 8.
“When I started running just three years ago, there was no goal to even run a marathon,” she said.
Bishop, 35, ran track at Auburn University and during her time in the Air Force, but found herself in a situation where she “literally didn’t run for 10 years.”
She reintroduced running to make time for herself in her hectic life with a full-time job and growing family. She aimed to start with a 30-minute jog a few times a week; it evolved into running an hour, and then doing that more frequently. Eventually running “snowballed into more than a hobby,” she said.
And the hobby gave way to purpose, too.
“When you’re so absorbed your family and working full time and raising kids, you kind of lose a little bit of your identity. I needed to find something for myself that could make me feel like me again, which would help make me a better wife and a better mother.”
James McKirdy, Bishop’s coach, said while she is a world-class athlete, motherhood is an achievement she is most proud of.
“Her pictures are not about her running — most of her pictures are of her family,” he said. ” … Yeah she runs fast, and that’s great, but she’s a mom and a wife first.”
Qualifying for the Olympic trials has long been a dream for Bishop.
Bishop didn’t commit to running Marine Corps Marathon until nine days before the October race, reasoning she’d use the experience as a training run for the December California International Marathon. But on race day, she knew she was gearing up for a great run.
“I was standing on the start line and I was feeling like a million dollars and it was one of those days where I knew I was going to have the race of my life,” she said of the race where she went on to place as the first female finisher.
While Marine Corps win was wonderful, Bishop was just shy of making the 2:45 cutoff for the Olympic trials. She went to the California International Marathon with fierce focus on her goal to qualify for the trials, she said.
“I knew coming in to this race I was in shape to do it. I knew it was my shot.”
Bishop went on to finish the race in 2:42:46, snatching up one of the about 200 Olympic trial qualification spots — the cherry on top of what she calls a “fairy tale season.”(07/31/2019) ⚡AMP
USA Track & Field (USATF) announced today that the 2020 USA Olympic Trials Marathon, scheduled for February 29, in Atlanta, has been granted IAAF Gold Label status. That's a critical development because it means that the top-5 male and female finishers will automatically achieve 2020 Olympic Games qualifying marks, regardless of their finish times. As part of the Tokyo Olympic Games qualifying program unveiled by the International Association of Athletics Federations earlier this year, top-5 finishers at Gold Label marathons are given automatic Olympic Games qualifiers. As such, the six-athlete USA Olympic team in the marathon can be named with certainty on the day of the Trials with the top-3 male and female finishers nominated for the team.
In a press release, USATF said that "the announcement of the Tokyo 2020 Qualification System in March presented challenges to USATF and its partners as planning for marathon trials had begun well before the changes to the qualification system were announced." Those partners include the not-for-profit Atlanta Track Club, which will host the Trials, as well as NBC the network which will broadcast them. The Trials would be devalued for both of these parties if the team could not be named that day.
Right now only a handful of USA athletes have achieved the Olympic Games qualifying standards (2:11:30 for men and 2:29:30 for women since January 1, 2019). On the men's side, there are only two, Scott Fauble and Jared Ward who ran 2:09:09 and 2:09:25, respectively, at last April's Boston Marathon (they also finished in the top-10, which also confers qualifying status at any Abbott World Marathon Majors event). On the women's side there are nine: Emily Sisson (2:23:08), Jordan Hasay (2:25:20), Kellyn Taylor (2:26:27), Molly Huddle (2:26:33), Aliphine Tuliamuk (2:26:50), Des Linden (2:27:00), Nell Rojas (2:28:06), Roberta Groner (2:29:09), and Lindsay Flanagan (2:30:07/9th place at Boston). Those athletes lose the relative advantage of having a qualifying mark in advance of the race.
But, for most of the 181 men and 340 women who have qualified, according to a tally done by MarathonGuide.com, this announcement will be good news. Athletes can now approach the trials in the traditional way, with their focus only finish place and not on time. That's particularly important considering the difficulty of the Atlanta course which has a number of challenging hills.
"Hilly is an understatement," said Brogan Austin who won the men's division of an 8-mile test event held on part of the course last March. "I definitely have a new respect for this marathon. I only ran eight miles. I can't imagine doing four times that distance."
Amy Cragg, the winner of the 2016 Trials in Los Angeles, agreed. "It's going to be really, really tough," she told Race Results Weekly after winning the women's division of the test event last March. "We're going to send a good women's team, a really good women's team (to Tokyo). If you can get through this course, you're going to be ready."(07/23/2019) ⚡AMP
Chelsea Benson qualified for the Olympic Trials in December when she turned in an impressive performance at the California International Marathon in Sacramento.
She clocked 2:42:27, which qualifies under the “B standard” set at 2:45:00.
“Obviously I was pretty excited,” Benson, 36 and a mother of 5-year-old twins, said. “I put in a lot of miles and missed out on some family stuff here and there, so I was excited to be able to convince my body to do something I set my mind to, it felt like my hard work paid off.”
She had set the goal after running the Philadelphia Marathon in a time of roughly two hours and 50 minutes. A friend of hers told her she could shave that time off with some hard work, and after consulting with a coach, she set a plan with the goal of qualifying for the Trials.
Benson is no stranger to success in the sport. In high school she qualified for the state meet in both cross country and outdoor track, and then qualified for the NCAA Division 3 National Meets in both sports while running at Allegheny College.
“I got into running because I wasn’t great at any other sports, to be honest,” Benson said. “I tried softball, soccer and basketball, and I was always okay but never really good. So, I found that I was pretty good at running.”
With that in mind, Benson joined the Kane High cross country and outdoor track teams, and participated in a club indoor track team during the winter.
“That allowed me to gain a lot of confidence, and I had coaches who pushed me to do my best,” Benson said. “And then, of course, being from Kane, we knew Amy Rudolph made it to the Olympics, so we had it in the back of our minds while we ran.”
Now, almost 25 years to the date since Rudolph first qualified for the Olympics, Benson will get her shot in the Trials, but expectations are a little different.
“A lot of this is about the experience. About 300 of us qualified for the Trials, but only the top three go, and they’re professional athletes,” Benson said. “But to be among the pool of the fastest marathoners in the U.S. is fun and exciting.”
That said, don’t expect Benson to just roll over, either.
“I’m really competitive, so I’ll go down there to race knowing I won’t make the team, but just to see how I do against the best,” she said.
She hasn’t set a preferred finish time for herself, in large part because the marathon course in Atlanta is hilly, which yields slower times.(07/17/2019) ⚡AMP
The selection policy for the 2020 US Olympic marathon team, cloudy for months after the IAAF announced in March that the qualification process for the 2020 Olympic Games is changing, is quietly beginning to take shape. For those wishing to preserve the best thing about the US Olympic Marathon Trials — top three across the line make the team — there was some good news, but there remains work to be done. After speaking with sources at the IAAF and USATF, here’s where we stand eight months from the Olympic Trials, which will be held in Atlanta on February 29.
The first bit of news trickled out on June 25 in the IAAF Athlete Representative Newsletter, which was promptly shared by agent Dan Lilot on Twitter. The update? After lobbying from USATF, the IAAF Council approved that “national Tokyo 2020 Olympic selection championship/trials in the men’s and/or women’s marathon, held in 2019 or 2020, may be granted Gold Label status if requested by the Member Federations and if the race can meet the Gold Label requirement for number of Gold Label athletes.”
Normally, Gold Label status is awarded to a marathon based on the previous year’s field. So to attain Gold Label status in 2020, the 2019 edition of the race would have to have six men and six women with Gold Label status that year, or seven athletes if it’s a single-gender race (Gold Label status is awarded to an athlete based on their world ranking at the end of the previous year; a marathoner has to be ranked in the world’s top 200 to earn Gold Label status). The 2019 edition of the US Olympic Marathon Trials would normally be the 2019 USATF Marathon Championships, but USATF isn’t holding a marathon championship this year.
So what the IAAF is saying is that USATF doesn’t have to worry about the field at the 2019 USATF Marathon Championships; as long as the Trials has enough Gold Label athletes, it can be granted Gold Label status.
This is good news for American women. Remember, an athlete automatically achieves the Olympic standard by finishing in the top five at a Gold Label marathon. And the women’s race at the US Olympic Trials should have no problem hitting the minimum Gold Label requirements; 11 American women had Gold Label status in 2019, and as of the most recent world rankings, 10 are on track to earn it in 2020. That means that on the women’s side, the Olympic Trials will be able to use the “top three make the team” model. (Also note that Japan, which is holding its first Olympic marathon trials in September, will easily meet the criteria on the men’s and women’s side).
That may not sound like a huge deal, considering nine American women already have the Olympic standard. But consider two women who do not have the standard: Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan, both members of the 2016 Olympic team. If it’s a bad weather day on the hilly Atlanta course, it’s not out of the question that third place could be slower than the Olympic time standard of 2:29:30 (Flanagan finished third at the ’16 Trials in 2:29:19). Achieving Gold Label status puts any of those worries to bed. That’s a win for USATF.
On the men’s side, USATF still has some work to do. Only one American man, Galen Rupp, qualified for Gold Label status in the marathon in 2019. And right now, Rupp is the only American man on track to earn it again in 2020 (Scott Fauble and Jared Ward are just outside, at #205 and #210 in the current world rankings).
That means that, based on the criteria the IAAF announced on June 25, there’s no way that the men’s race at the Olympic Trials will qualify for Gold Label status. And the men are the ones who need it: Fauble and Ward are the only Americans with the Olympic standard, and the time standard of 2:11:30 could be tough to hit on the day in Atlanta.(07/09/2019) ⚡AMP
The standards are tough but the US is running the trials in weather most similar to Tokyo. 7/10 9:54 pm
The “B” Standard for qualification to the Olympic Trials is 2:19:00.
“I really wanted to get the standard. That was one of my big goals going in,” Quinlan Moll said. “I didn’t know what to expect because I had never run a marathon before. I knew I was in good shape coming off track season, but it is a marathon so you never know what to expect. It is such a long distance that pretty much anything can happen during it.”
Moll competed at UMKC the past five years and finished up his eligibility this spring. UMKC distance coach Brett Guemmer continued to advise Moll through his marathon training.
“He (Coach Guemmer) advised me to take it out slow the first couple miles. It is 5:18 (per mile) average to get under 2:19. He told me not to go out at that, but to start out at 5:30 or 5:25 the first few miles and see how it felt. I was right around low 5:20’s for the first few miles, and the plan was to cut down from there. I was feeling good early on, but it is a long race,” Moll said. “Around mile nine I started dropping closer to 5:18’s to 5:15’s. I wasn’t having any trouble clicking them off, so I (decided) to keep going at that (pace) for a while.”
The steady pace kept Moll feeling good through the half, but his half marathon time of 69:48 was not going to get him to the standard, so he had to pick up the pace.
“I saw I came through the half (marathon) at 69:48, so I knew that I would have to pick it up and start pushing a little more,” Moll said. “Once I started getting later in the race and I still had a little left in my legs, I figured I still had a shot so I just had to keep at it.”
Moll dropped his average mile pace to 5:15 from the half marathon to the 20-mile mark to get closer to where he needed to be to hit the standard.
Going into the event, Moll had never raced longer than a 10-kilometer race or done a training run longer than 20 miles.
“I got to the 20-mile mark and (thought) this is my normal race distance left,” Moll said. “At that point my legs were getting a little heavy, but I was still feeling good enough to where I could convince myself that I had come 20 miles, 6.2 miles isn’t that much further to go. It is just really a mental thing. That was the hardest thing was trying to convince myself I had less distance left than I did.”
After 26 miles, Moll still was in position to hit the standard to qualify for the trials, but it was going to be close.
“I was checking my watch the entire time. Towards the end of the race there are a bunch of curves you have to go around. I felt like my legs weren’t going to give out or anything, so I knew if I could push a little harder that last mile that I could get there. I kept looking at my watch and would pick it up a little bit. Coming down the homestretch, I saw the clock, saw my watch and saw where the finish line was and knew it was going to be close. Once I got toward the homestretch I knew I had it. That was a really good feeling,” Moll said. “I was just grinning across the line. I think I gave a little fist bump too because some of the guys in front of me were celebrating because they knew they were under the standard too.”
The Kickapoo alumus will now have the chance to compete with some of the best distance runners in the United States at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Atlanta on Feb. 29, 2020.(06/24/2019) ⚡AMP
Tyler Pence never struggles to get out the door. Well, unless there’s a freakish snowstorm not unlike the one in January.That forced him to stay indoors and run on a treadmill.
“But usually 99 percent of the time I’m running outside,” said Pence, who graduated from Springfield High School in 2011.
Pence hasn’t slowed down one bit since winning a couple of NCAA Division II long-distance titles at University of Southern Indiana in 2015, which included the indoor 5,000 meters and outdoor 10,000.
That’s because the 2016 USI grad is prepping for his first appearance in the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon scheduled Feb. 29, 2020 in Atlanta.
He qualified this past December, beating the required 2:19.00 standard at the USATF-sanctioned California International Marathon in Sacramento, California. Pence came in at 17th place with a time of 2:15.36.
“That’s something that I really wanted to accomplish,” Pence said. “The marathon, it’s a gamble. Things can go wrong. It’s such a long period of racing that something can go wrong at any moment, so to put it together and have the day that I had, I was very happy with how it went.”
Pence had only attempted one other marathon – the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon in 2016. Pence said that was just for fun.
Sacramento was different.
Pence started training rigorously in August, approximately the same time he won his third straight 10-kilmometer Abe’s Amble road race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
His training spanned four months, running 110-120 miles a week. Sundays were always his big runs, reaching up to 20-24 miles.
He often did morning practices with UIS runners, in addition to a second jaunt in the afternoon.
It was the source of his inspiration.
“When I graduated college, I actually didn’t really plan on continuing my running career and then once I got into coaching, I was around these guys all of the time. It was definitely a motivator of mine,” Pence said. “I thought, ‘How can I tell these guys what to do all of the time, but not do it myself?’ So, I’m a big believer in practice what you preach. That’s definitely what got me back into getting motivated to run at the next level.”(03/12/2019) ⚡AMP
Jim Walmsley ran a 1:04:00 in the Houston Half-Marathon last Sunday (January 20). Many people have been critical of his race and returned to comparing the trail and road running scenes in a futile attempt to try and identify which discipline is more difficult.
Walmsley is an ultra and trail runner who’s the Western States 100 course record holder, and was formerly a high school and collegiate track runner (8:41.05 3,000m steeplechaser). Walmsley was ranked 23rd male on Sports Illustrated’s Fittest 50 athletes in 2018 (marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge ranked 21st) and is very well known for his accomplishments on the trails.
His 1:04:00 at Houston qualified him for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials where he will run his marathon debut. As Walsmley straddles the boundary between ultra-trail runner and road runner, he’s become a focal point for the trail versus road argument.
Walmsley was a guest on the Citius Mag podcast the week following his half-marathon and was asked to address some of the comments. Here’s what he had to say regarding a 2:05 marathoner being thrown into the Western States Endurance Run.
“The way that I attack the downhills, I will break your quads and you won’t be able to jog the flats afterwards. Like, give me a 2:05 guy, a couple hours in the canyon (like at Western States) and I’ll be the first one out.”(01/26/2019) ⚡AMP
The route highlights Atlanta’s Olympic history and legacy as Olympic hopefuls chase their dreams of representing the United States at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It will also provide an unprecedented number of opportunities for spectators to cheer on America’s top distance runners at all stages of the race which will be held on February 29, 2020.
The course consists of three 6-mile loops and one 8.2-mile loop. The start line will be located just outside of Centennial Olympic Park in front of the College Football Hall of Fame on Marietta Street near Atlanta’s popular downtown attractions including Georgia Aquarium, The Center for Civil and Human Rights and the World of Coca Cola before heading toward the city’s best known thoroughfare – Peachtree Street. On Peachtree, the runners will pass the Fox Theatre and loop around the Margaret Mitchell House, a museum honoring the legendary author of “Gone with the Wind.”
From Peachtree Street, the course takes the competitors into Atlanta’s Historic Old Fourth Ward where they will find the Martin Luther King National Historic Park, birthplace and burial site of the Civil Rights icon.
The final loop will include a 2.2-mile section of the course, which will take the athletes by the Georgia State Capitol building and underneath the Olympic Rings and Cauldron structure outside Georgia State Stadium that served as the Olympic Stadium at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
In the 26th mile, the race for a Tokyo Olympic berth will pass the homes of the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United FC and the Atlanta Hawks, and the Georgia World Congress Center before finishing inside Centennial Olympic Park, downtown’s transformational Olympic legacy green space.
Over the marathon distance, the Trials competitors will experience approximately 1,000 feet of elevation gain with a net elevation loss of 17 feet due to the proximity of the start and finish lines.
“Atlanta Track Club has put together a history-filled and exciting course for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “Running through the iconic Atlanta downtown and through historic roads will be exciting for both competitors and spectators.”
“This course will show the competitors and spectators why we believe Atlanta is Running City USA,” said Rich Kenah, Atlanta Track Club’s Executive Director. “From the top three male and female finishers who punch their ticket to Tokyo to the final finishers, Atlanta Track Club, the city of Atlanta and the people of Atlanta will provide a championship experience these runners will remember for the rest of their lives.”
In March of 2018, Atlanta was chosen as the host city for the 2020 Olympic Team Trials – Marathon. All runners and walkers, including Olympic hopefuls will have an opportunity to preview the course for the first time at the Road To Gold. The 8.2-mile race organized by Atlanta Track Club will be held March 2, 2019.(01/08/2019) ⚡AMP
Even through two significant foot injuries in 2018, Jordan Hasay remains optimistic about her long-term running career and is focused on having a successful year leading up to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Hasay captured the attention of the running world when she finished third at the Boston Marathon in April 2017. Jordan shattered the record for an American woman in her marathon debut by nearly three minutes.
Six months later, Hasay cemented her status among the world’s elite marathon runners with a third-place finish at the Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:20:57, the second-fastest marathon time ever recorded by an American woman.
Hasay, an 18-time All-American at the University of Oregon, had her sights set on breaking Deena Kastor’s American record this year when she suffered two separate fractures to the bone in her left heel.
In April, Hasay withdrew from the Boston Marathon the day before the race after an MRI revealed the significance of the initial injury.
Hasay said she was encouraged the first injury healed so well, and she expects to make a full recovery from the most recent setback.
She’s thankful to be able to return the Central Coast and spend time with family while she rests and recovers. Sacrificing eight weeks of running is a concession Hasay is ready to make for what she hopes will be a long career ahead.
“You’ve got to find things that can make you smile each day when you’re out injured like that, because you’re not out there doing what you love the most,” Hasay said.
“I see it as sort of the beginning of my marathon career, and hopefully we’ll figure it out so I don’t have these sort of injuries again.”(12/18/2018) ⚡AMP
The high school junior, Katelyn Tuohy just 16 finished another undefeated season at Nike Cross Nationals and announced her intent to focus on qualifying for the 2020 US Olympic trials.
Everything I do is impacted by my decision to want to make it to the Olympic trials. That’s definitely my big picture goal for the future.” She continued, “I think I’m more of a 5K runners because of my stride, but I also love the 3,000m and 1,500m. Unfortunately there’s no 3,000m at the trials so I think the 5K is my best shot right now.”
The qualifying standard for the trials was 15:25:00 for the 5,000m in 2016. Tuohy is only 16-years-old but she will be 18 by the time 2020 rolls around.
This is young for a runner to try and make an Olympic team, especially in a distance like the 5,000m, but not unheard of.
Newly signed New Balance Athlete Sydney McLaughlin had a similarly stunning high school career and made the 2016 Olympic team at only 16-years-old, and turned 17 just before the games.(12/06/2018) ⚡AMP
America’s Meb Keflezighi is considering coming out of retirement to try to make his fifth U.S. Olympic team at the age of 44 years old at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
As the most decorated U.S. marathoner in history, Keflezighi won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympic marathon. He also won the 2009 New York City Marathon, the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and the 2014 Boston Marathon. Keflezighi, currently 43, made his first U.S. Olympic team on the track in 2000 and then competed in the marathon at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Games.
He announced his retirement from competitive running after racing the 2017 New York City Marathon, which was his 26th career marathon. “I still believe I can run 2:12 or 2:13, and maybe even faster on a great day,” Keflezighi added.
“The question that I have to ask myself is whether or not I want to do the work to get in 2:14 shape. I really don’t know.” The 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials will be held on Feb. 29, 2020 in Atlanta.
“Meb should do this,” says Bob Anderson. “US marathoning needs this even if it just inspire others but I think you could pull off at least a top three if he puts in the training.”(10/10/2018) ⚡AMP