Sunday, February 04, 2024

The Orlando US Olympic Marathon Trials Did NOT Disappoint!

Rabbi Benjamin David  

The U.S. Marathon Olympic trials happen every four years. It is a crazed, high-intensity event. It was my 3nd Trials attending in person. The top three become Olympians; everyone else goes home deflated.(See my trials preview for further details on Olympic qualifying). 

Nearly 400 men and women lined up in sunny Orlando Saturday morning to see who just might make their dreams a reality. 

Despite fears of excessive heat and humidity, the temperature at the start was 58 degrees and rather comfortable. It would climb into the high 60’s throughout the race. Not nearly as daunting as many predicted. 

The pace was hard and honest on both sides from the start, with all the major players in the mix through 10k: Mantz, Rupp, Fauble, Young, Frank Lara, CJ Albertson, Leonard Korir and Nico Montanez, with Brooks’ Zach Panning driving hard at the front. They were there to run fast, perhaps under the 2:08:10 Paris standard.

On the women’s side the early pack was loaded with all of America’s current running luminaries: D’Amato, Sisson, Durgin, Rojas, Hall, Rogers, Rotich, O’Keeffe, Lindwurm, Saina, Tuliamuk, Flanagan, Frisbie and Rooker. Would someone break it open? Yes of course but when. 

By halfway things were taking shape. The crowd was large and loud. The sun shone down. It was heading in the direction of a fast second half, one that would reward guts. The men hit the half in 1:04:07. Big names faded (Fauble dropped at 11, Albertson was now a second behind, Frank Lara and Paul Chelimo were going backward).

On the women’s side the pack remained rather unchanged. Kellyn Taylor had fallen back a step. Des Linden was also lurking from behind. The large lead pack passed halfway in 1:11:43. Many of them were running beyond their PR pace. No doubt people would pay the price. Who? When? 

At twenty miles both teams were coming into view. Panning, Mantz and Young (the latter two Utah training partners) were seemingly clear. Army elite athletes Korir and Kibet were 9 and 16 seconds behind respectively, trying to fight their way back. Rupp was now in a surprising and distant 7th, a minute back of the leaders. Did we have the trio that would be heading to Paris?

Mantz and Young would break clear away, motioning to the crowd and each other; with a mile to go they knew they were headed to Paris. Young invited Mantz to finish at step of him, which he did. They crossed the line in 2:09:05 and 2:09:06. Leonard Korir, fourth four years ago in Atlanta, fought off a charging Elkanah Kibet to kick up third place in 2:09:57. Zach Panning, after leading the charge for so long, finished in fifth in 2:10:50. No doubt we haven’t seen the last of him. 

On the women’s side it wound up being a BIG day for Puma Running. Fiona O’Keeffe, running 5:09 for Mike 25, broke the trials record with her 2:22:10. She is coached by Allistair and Amy Cragg, who won the women’s trials in Los Angeles in 2016. Emily Sisson, an early favorite to win the race, came through for second in 2:22:42. Third place went to a visibly surprised and elated Dakotah Lundwurm, who held off McClain, Sara Hall and 2015 Boston Marathon champ Caroline Rotich. Keira D’Amato, Molly Huddle and Jenny Simpson took a DNF. Lundwurm finished in 2:25:31. After the race she wrote, ‘Do you believe in miracles? YES.’

As for shoes, on the men’s side the podium was Nike, ASICS, Nike. For the women: Puma, New Balance, Puma. To my eyes, AlphaFly 3’s were the most prevalent, followed closely by VaporFly 3’s.

Ben is the Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, PA. A cancer survivor, he has run 21 marathons. He holds PRs of 3:15 for the marathon and 1:30 for the half. At 46, he still enjoys pushing himself and combining his running with supporting a variety of causes. Follow him on Instagram: @RabbiBPD or Twitter: @BDinPA 

RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links on our pages. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! 

RoadTrailRun Official Store Custom Fractel Caps and Bucket Hats
Cap:$39                                                             Bucket:$49
Limited Release! SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun


Anonymous said...

Young and Mantz never pulled away, Panning just went from 5:10 to 5:30 and Korir hunted down Kibet inThe final 2 miles with CJ just coming up short with the fastest final mile and only one under 5

Anonymous said...

Panning looks kinda fat