All About the US Olympic Marathon Trials – So Many Incredible Athletes to Root For

We are fast approaching the US Olympic Marathon Trials…the gun will be going off in Houston on January 14th. If you’re a running fan it’s hard not to get swept up in all the pre-race buzz. Lots of sites have amazing coverage; Running Times, Runner’s World, Flotrack has a great video series featuring the Hanson’s Group, and Hungry Runner Girl has some great stories as well.

It’s been a big year for the marathon in general, without going too far into the debate of what should or shouldn’t be counted as a record this year’s Boston Marathon was, in a word: Epic. For the women Desiree Davila was THIS close to becoming the very first American woman to take the race since 1985; regardless she set the American Course Record with 2:22:38. She further established herself as one of THE women to beat in Houston as well as the tough as grit, rise to the top stories we all love to read about.

On the men’s side, sure they weren’t Americans but Geoffry Mutai and Moses Mosop ran mindblowingly fast times: 2:03:02 and 2:03:06 and if Boston’s course were certified to be deemed World Records they would have been.

What’s more is the marathon in general has spread like wildfire amongst the general public (seems like everyone wants to run one these days!) but the elites who previously were 5k or 10k track runners have decided to take the plunge. Honestly it’d be easier to name the Nation’s top harriers who have yet to run one; between Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Lauren Fleshman, Desi Davila, Dathan Ritzenhein, Ryan Hall, and Meb Keflezighi I think we’re nearly covered. I’ll apologize for the myriad of top harriers not mentioned I know there are too many to rattle off!
girl runner
Still, the amount of emerging talent in the marathon is what’s been almost more inspiring. We have athletes like Molly Pritz who establish themselves on the radar in break-out races; she was our top American at the 2011 NYC Marathon in 2:31:52…this was her first marathon! Amy Hastings’ years of hard work and perseverance have all come together at the right time, and we can’t discount the women for who this is hardly their first experience at the Trials: Deena Kastor (hello Olympic Bronze for the Marathon!), Blake Russell, Magdalena Lewy Boulet and Tera Moody who was the feel good story of the last US Trials. Again, I know I’m missing people.

For the men, personally how can you not root for Dathan Ritzenhein after all he’s been through and overcome? Injuries are part of our sport but they take an insurmountable amount of motivation and belief to get through them…especially when it feels like one thing right after the other. Tim Nelson and Brent Vaughn from the Oregon Track Club, the aforementioned Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi are never ones to count out.

The Hanson’s Team have established themselves as the guys we all want to see do well because for so many years they were flying under the radar…again, check out FloTrack’s coverage. But, for each runner’s story we HAVE seen there are so many more we haven’t.

There’s Michael Wardian I wrote about and I just saw that twins Drew and Kyle Shackleton are going into the race running for the Michael J. Fox Foundation to raise money for Parkinson’s Disease Research. They’ve already amassed $20,000 and have a goal of raising $10,000 more by the 14th! Seriously please go check out the link and make a donation!
women runners
I’ve read about a woman entrant who moonlights as an exotic dancer…I’m not kidding. Remember that lots of these runners have ‘regular’ duel lives with jobs and families all while putting in all of those miles.

Again, how can you not get swept up in this? There’s still a bit over a week to go and daily more stories emerge…come gun time, who will you be rooting for?

1) Name your picks for the top three who will make it to the Olympics?

2) What’s the best story you’ve read or seen so far about a runner going in?

3) Does all this make you want to go run a marathon…or not? Hehe.

4) What’s your weekend plans?

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23 thoughts on “All About the US Olympic Marathon Trials – So Many Incredible Athletes to Root For

    • i think even if you don’t necessarily know about the racers it’s so motivating like u point out! plus, getting into a sport and learning about it is all part of the fun! 🙂

  1. I’m sooo excited for the trials! One of my friends who runs for Puma, and used to be a Hansons girl, qualified – I was at starbucks with her yesterday and she told me she was going to the race by herself! no parents or coach going! I half-jokingly offered to go with her and she was like “omg yes, please come!! it’ll be good experience for you for when we go together in 2016 (she’s going to be coaching me once I’m fully recovered)!” She’s shooting for a 2:35ish, and isn’t realistically hoping to place, but I’ll be there as her personal support crew! I definitely think Desi is in shape for a spot on the team, and probably Shalane as well…maybe Kara? I’d love to see Kara in another olympics! as for the men, I love Ritz’s story, definitely rooting for him!! I sort of wonder how many of these great runners I can try to meet hahaha

    • i’m so jealous u get to go to TX!! haha…jealous is a totally non-malicious way, i actually hate the word jealous, we need some kind of term that means “i wish i was able to go too, but i totally am stoked u’re going” u kno wat i mean? okay, while u of course need to cheer for ur friend, please cheer on my behalf for kara too! 🙂 and for Ritz too…i’m pulling for him to take the men’s! 🙂 HAVE A BLAST!!

  2. Didn’t know about the exotic dancer! I wonder if that is a great form of cross training?! Did you catch the flotrack video of Desi talking about her post Boston feelings? I have so much respect for this girl and have been watching her progress for the last 4 years, she has probably the best head on her shoulders out of any American woman right now. Can’t wait till next Saturdays race, it will for sure be a nail bitter!

    • haha…can u imagine, “don’t worry coach, i got my core work covered for tonight!” 😉 haha. ya, i’m liking the Flotrack coverage…that race is going to be insane. i’ll root for Desi, but i have to make it known my loyalties have to go to Kara and Shalane first. 😉

  3. First of all – I love the first image you made. That’s so cool!! I think that would make an awesome shirt!!
    Anyway, back to the trials. I’m really routing for Desiree Davila. I just like her – it seems like she just puts in the work, maybe she wasn’t always naturally talented, but she definitely shows that she is a hardcore runner. I love it. I feel like I can really relate to that and hope that one day I can come as far as she has! I would love to see Kara up there too, especially since she had the same weird stress fracture that I had!

    • I feel like what I said about Desiree is kind of confusing. I want to clarify that I think she is immensely talented, but I never heard of her much like I had heard of Kara, Shalane, etc. which leads me to believe that she wasn’t as much of a standout through out all the years, but I really don’t know because I haven’t been following her until recently!

      • thanks for the kind words on my art! and u are way too cute, i totally understand wat u meant…lol. often in our sport it’s easy for incredibly talented athletes to get overlooked until they have those breakthrough performances like Desi did.

  4. I am SO excited about the OT!! Haha I’d never even HEARD of them until recently (UK athletes don’t have a specific trial to run in the Olympics) but I’ve been following all the updates via Running Times! I can’t believe Rupp has pulled out!! I wasn’t sure if he’d get through anyway, seeing as he’d never run a marathon before(!) but still he his awesome at the 10,000 so I thought he’d have a chance!

    My top man is Ryan Hall, and top lady is Desiree Davila. After watching her run Boston, I fell in love. I’d also love Shalane or Kara to qualify, but I’m really hoping an underdog will emerge victorious too!

    And hey, if being an exotic dancer will make me as fast as that lady, I’m up for it! 😉

    • oh man, the whole selection for the Oly teams between all the different countries makes my head spin!! haha…but ya, it’s going to be one awesome race to watch/follow.

      so does that mean u and i should start mixing up our core routine adding in a stripper pole?? 😉 totally kidding! lol

  5. This is such a fun read… it’s definitely inspiring! I’ve only run one marathon and hope to do more, but the training is a huge time commitment. I love that you combine your writing-art-running interests on your blog…it’s so unique. Thanks for stopping by mine, too!

    • glad u liked the read! and i agree that all of these athletes make u want to go out there and kick some butt *cue Rocky music* hehe. thanks for coming by and i appreciate ur kind words! 🙂

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