Olympic Trials Marathon: My Two Cents

photo credit: Meb's Facebook

photo credit: Meb’s Facebook

Wow! There was SO much going on in relation to this race. I don’t even know where to start. Let’s start with my predictions:

In the men’s race, I predicted Ritz, Meb and Jared Ward. Notably, I made my prediction before Rupp was in; however, I wouldn’t have included him, regardless. More on Rupp later. In the women’s race, I predicted Shalane, Desi and Deena, with Maegan Krifchin as a darkhorse. Obviously, I made my prediction before Deena decided not to start. I did pretty well – picking four out of six isn’t half bad.

Here are the results:

1) Galen Rupp 2:11:12
2) Meb Keflezighi 2:12:20
3) Jared Ward 2:13:00
4) Luke Puskedra 2:14:12

1) Amy Cragg 2:28:20
2) Desi Linden 2:28:54
3) Shalane Flanagan 2:29:19
4) Kara Goucher 2:30:24

The top three are on the Olympic Team – the fourth place finisher is an alternate.

Full results with splits are available here.

The Men’s Race

First, let’s mention Galen Rupp. The guy is still shrouded in controversy. While he ran an impressive race, the doping allegations have not been resolved. Is there another shoe to drop here? Probably.

Second, Meb Keflezighi. What can you really say at this point? Meb may be the only person in America that could get approved for the Supreme Court right now. This guy is as good as it gets, not just as an athlete, but as a human being. Desi summed it up perfectly in the post-race press conference: “He’s what we strive to be. We’re super blessed to have him.”

Third, Jared Ward. This was not surprising to me. Ward ran the L.A. Marathon in March and finished 3rd in 2:12:56 on a hot day. The conditions were about the same on Saturday (if not a little cooler), and I figured a similar time would get the job done. Bingo. Ward ran just four seconds slower and snagged the third spot without a real challenge.


– There was an awkward moment in the post-race press conference. Meb talked about how Rupp was crowding him during the race. You can check it out here.

– Dathan Ritzenhein dropped out around mile 20 because of cramps. I think this shocked everyone, including myself. Will Ritz still try and qualify in the 10,000m or will he stick to marathons? Only time will tell.

– the qualifying time for the marathon was 2:19:00; however, in the hot conditions on Saturday, only 19 men ran under 2:19:00 (in fact, only 19 men ran under 2:20:00). 60 men dropped out at some point during the race.

The Women’s Race

First, Amy Cragg. This was a brilliant run for Amy. She broke away early with Shalane and she appeared to be locked in the whole way. In fact, she negative split the marathon, even as she was slowing for Shalane and battling the heat. There really is nothing bad to say about this performance.

Second, Desi Linden. Along with Jared Ward, Desi ran the smartest race of the top finishers. While the announcers were trying to stir up drama about how far back she was, Desi was perfectly executing a calculated plan. Did her “slow” start cost her the win? Maybe. Who knows? Who cares? The point was to qualify for Rio and she nailed it. Desi also ran a negative split.

Third, Shalane. I’m not going to lie. That hurt to watch. As I was watching, I kept saying “She’s going to collapse. She’s going to collapse. She’s going to collapse.” And she did. Fortunately, it was after she crossed the finish line. Shalane did not run a negative split (although she was surprisingly close). She’s also lucky the race was not any longer, because I’m not sure she would have made it. My goodness, though, that woman is tough. And she’s heading to Rio.

Fourth, speaking of tough, how about Kara Goucher?! Who thought Kara was going to do this well? If you said that you did, you’re probably lying. It was really a remarkable performance. The problem is that she came in fourth. Where does that leave her? Does she take a shot in the 10,000m? We’ll see. I know this much – after the race, Kara took a minute to unload on Nike, and if you haven’t seen the video yet, it’s definitely worth a watch.


– the qualifying time for the marathon was 2:45:00; however, in the hot conditions on Saturday, only 40 women ran under 2:45:00. 48 women dropped out at some point during the race.

Did you watch the race? What did you think?

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7 Responses to Olympic Trials Marathon: My Two Cents

  1. I was HOPING Kara would do that well! Kara is by far my favorite running persona to follow. It helps that I have had the chance to meet her and run with her (for about a block at a group run, before she and the other fast people took off again). I hope she goes for the 10,000 (wasn’t that her original competition distance before taking on the marathon?). That video of her is pretty funny.

  2. laurenweiner says:

    I did watch! I felt terrible for Flanagan, I could tell that the last few miles were torture. I’m surprised Cragg didn’t pull away sooner, but if she had, I don’t think Flanagan would have been able to hold on. I think their camaraderie is admirable.

  3. telisa5 says:

    I was spectated near the finish line. Meb came over and acknowledged the spectators. It was a very nice moment and he was the only finisher to do so. Class act.

  4. Hollie says:

    I have been waiting for your thoughts about the race. I am not sure what to make of Rupps performance. Was I surprised he won? Yes. But was I surprised he made the team? No…I think Salazer was looking for a statement and would not have allowed Rupp to run if he wouldn’t have made the team.

    I wonder what would have happened if Kastor had not been hurt? Would she had run with Desi and Kara, push the pace and had a hard battle for 2nd and 3rd? Desi said in preinterviews she was going to sit back and people would wonder about her.

    Medals aren’t won in trials and still have a feeling that Desi (maybe Shalane) will be top US. I think the race might have broken Shalane a bit but I bet she’ll bounce back.

    • Jason says:

      I wonder about Deena – I don’t think she would have won but I do think she would have been top five – I’m not sure if she would have made it or not!

  5. Ellie says:

    Meb has true character, you’re right about that. I really don’t want to believe in the doping allegations but something isn’t right in my gut about that. However, Shalane has been in Salazar’s pocket at points too right?
    Desi is just fantastic. What I love about her is that she is still such a quiet presence…and then she unleashes and does really well. I still barely notice her until she’s already won and taking a nap.
    I was really upset with how the athletes were treated by the LA Marathon Trials staff. The athletes had to pay for the race, they got a Coke as a “thank you for racing” and there was no post race food for the non-elites. It was a really crappy show for LA hospitality.

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