US Olympic Marathon Trials - Men's Preview
Every four years the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials are held to determine Team USA berths. On Saturday, February 13, the country’s best distance runners will battle in downtown Los Angeles. The top three finishers in each race will earn berths on the Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in August. QUALIFYING STANDARDS: Olympic Marathon Trials “A” qualifying standards are 2:15:00 (men) and 2:37:00 (women). Men’s and women’s “B” qualifying standards for entry for the marathon are 2:19:00 and 2:45:00, respectively, and for the half marathon 1:05:00 and 1:15:00.
Total number of qualified men: 211 By marathon: 86 By half marathon: 125 Attained "A" standard: 27 Attained "B" standard: 184 Total number of qualified women: 246 By marathon: 198 By half marathon: 48 Attained "A" standard: 42 Attained "B" standard: 204
I expect to see a first half in the 1:04:00 range and a fairly large pack of 12-15 runners. If anyone does break early and run faster than that I anticipate that the pack will let them go based on conditions. After the half I expect the pace to maintain in the 4:55 to 5:00 per mile range and the pack will slowly dwindle. By 20 miles I expect it to be down to a pack of only 5 or 6 runners, including Ritzenhein, Puskedra, Rupp, Estrada, Meb, and Grey.
At this point expect to see some surging, possibly by Ritzenhein or by Meb. It will all be a matter of who can cover the moves and hang on at this point. At 38-40K it will be a matter of racing for spots and I suspect that it will be down to 3 at this point. The only thing to be established will be the order of finish. This is the last hurrah for Ritzenhein and I think that he's healthy and determined to win. If Rupp is still a factor I think that he can close for 2nd and watch for Jon Grey to finish strongly. Don't underestimate Ritzenhein's speed. Remember that he owns a faster 5,000 meter time than Rupp.
I don't think that the heat is going to do Puskedra any favors. Smaller guys with less surface area will fare better in the heat. Many of you are asking, "Why in the hell are you picking Jon Grey?" Here's why: Grey ran a 27:59 10K PR on the track last spring and in August he moved from Minnesota to Boulder to train with Lee Troop and the Boulder Track Club. It's been a very successful transition. He isn't afraid to lead and led 9,800 meters of the Cross Country Club Championships in San Francisco in December before getting kicked down by Garrett Heath.
At the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon in early January he ran 1:02:47 for the win. The time may not sound impressive, but he put 38 seconds on Fernando Cabada and 52 seconds on Chris Derrick in the last 5 miles of the race. He went through 10K in 30:29 (4:54 pace) and covered the last 6.9 miles in 32:18 (4:40 pace). His coach, Lee Troop, has had great success at the marathon and will have him ready to roll. I also wouldn't be surprised at all if Galen Rupp decided not to run based on the heat. If he doesn't start move everyone else up a spot. My picks: 1) Dathan Ritzenhein 2:09:20 2) Galen Rupp 2:09:30 3) Jon Grey 2:10:00 4) Diego Estrada 5) Meb Keflezighi 6) Matt Llano 7) Jared Ward 8) Tyler Pennell 9) Fernando Cabada 10) Jeff Eggleston