The 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials were held on February 13, 2016. The conditions were very difficult for nearly 400 of the top distance runners in the U.S. with attrition rates close to thirty percent.
We asked Mark Winitz, long time scribe for California Track & Running News and American Track & Field, to write a piece specifically on the California finishers.
Here is his feature.
How Did Californians Fare at the
2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials?
By Mark Winitz
When Galen Rupp went into the lead of the men's race after mile 21 at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in front of long-time Californian Meb Keflezighi, more than a few onlookers caught their collective breaths. Here was Rupp, the U.S. 10,000-meter record holder, making his debut at the marathon distance, followed by Meb, age 40--who if he was successful would become the oldest U.S. Olympic marathoner ever, and the only one to make three Olympic marathon teams.
After starting conservatively in a large lead pack which had dwindled in warm 70s-degree Los Angeles conditions, Rupp, the Oregonian who is coached by 3-time NYC Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, boldly took the fore after 21 miles. Keflezighi (San Diego, CA), followed, undeterred in his Mammoth Mission. Ultimately, Rupp claimed the victory in 2:11:13, followed by Keflezighi (2:12:20) and Jared Ward (Provo, UT) as all three earned berths on the U.S. Olympic marathon team headed to the '16 Olympic Games in Rio.
"I expected it to be tactical for much of the race, which it was," Keflezighi said. "I knew that guys would be there after 15 or 16 miles, and that was the case.
"Also, there were a lot of surprises," he continued, mentioning the DNF of one of the favored contenders, Dathan Ritzehein. "When Galen Rupp went to the lead (after 21 miles) I had to make a calculated decision about whether I could keep up. Obviously, I couldn't. I was having a few stomach issues. So, I concentrated on getting second.
"Obviously, I'm happy to be on the team, it was a great crowd and I gave them something to cheer for. I had a lot of my old UCLA teammates there, cheering me on."
About his ability to compete in the top ranks for 1-1/2 decades, Meb said, "Working hard, doing the small things, and consistency. If you can do the small things that I talk about in my new book, Meb for Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner, they make a big difference. Also, I have a strong work ethic from my upbringing (as a young U.S. immigrant from Eritrea - editor). Also, I'm fortunate to have a lot of sponsor support."
"Meb's race just went perfectly," added Bob Larsen, Keflezighi's long-time coach since his collegiate days at UCLA. We wanted the field to get stretched out so a lot of guys wouldn't be hanging on who maybe could finish a little faster than Meb right now. And, that's exactly what happened.
"He won the masters division," Larsen joked. "If the race had been on the UCLA campus he would have won the whole thing."
Among Californians, Shadrack Biwott (Mammoth Lakes, who currently resides in Folsom) also finished in the top 10, placing 7th in 2:15:23.
"I'm happy that I took 7th place in difficult, warm conditions. I'll take it and build on it," said the 30-year-old Biwott, a former All-American runner at the University of Oregon who grew up in Kenya and received his U.S. citizenship in 2012. "Anytime you finish a race being healthy, without injury, is a good sign. When I finished, I had absolutely nothing left. The last four miles were pretty hot."
Biwott will next focus his sights on the track, hoping to improve his 10,000m PR of 28:28 to 28:15 or better so he can qualify for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Trivia question: Who was the other Californian (besides Keflezighi) who made the Olympic marathon squad at the Trials in Los Angeles? Hint: Perusing the race results won't help you with this one. Answer: Desiree Linden (nee' Davila). Linden--who was born in Chula Vista, CA where she attended Hilltop High School--passed a fading Shalane Flanagan (3rd, 2:29:26) in the closing mile and finished second in 2:29:00 behind winner Amy Cragg (2:28:27). Linden secured her second Olympic marathon team berth. After finishing second in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials to Flanagan, Linden was forced to drop out of the Olympic Marathon in London with a femoral stress fracture. She currently trains with the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project based in Rochester Hills, MN.
Let's give a big round of applause for LA Marathon LLC and USA Track & Field, the producers of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. A bang-up job for a superbly successful event. Thank you!
Below is a complete list of Californians (who listed California as their home state on their entry forms) and how they placed at the Marathon Trials.
2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials - Results
Place Name Age Residence USATF Association Tome
2 Meb Keflezighi 40 San Diego New York 2:12:20
7 Shadrack Biwott 30 Mammoth Lakes Southern California 2:15:23
18 Malcolm Richards 33 San Francisco Pacific 2:18:40
21 Ethan Shaw 25 San Diego San Diego-Imperial 2:20:56
27 Phillip Reid 30 San Luis Obispo Pacific 2:24:18
28 Daniel Tapia 29 Mammoth Lakes Southern California 2:22:30
30 Scott Bauhs 29 San Luis Obispo Pacific 2:23:02
33 Stephan Shay 30 Huntington Beach Pacific 2:23:46
42 Chris Chavez 29 Burlingame Pacific 2:26:10
54 Fernando Cabada 33 Clovis Central California 2:27:53
74 Gabriel Proctor 25 Mammoth Lakes Southern California 2:31:09
96 Christopher Barnicle 28 Los Angeles Southern California 2:40:17
106 Juan Paredes 25 Los Angeles Southern California 2:57:43
107 Chris Frias 25 San Luis Obispo Pacific 3:06:09
DNF Brett Gotcher 31 Aptos Pacific
DNF Diego Estrada 26 Salinas Pacific
DNF Isidore Herrera 25 Ventura Southern California
DNF Sean Davidson 24 San Luis Obispo Pacific
DNF Anthony Solis 25 Barstow Pacific
DNF Sergio Reyes 34 Los Osos Pacific
DNF Jesse Cherry 29 Oakland North Carolina
DNF Ryan Cosens 26 Santa Ana Southern California
DNF Tim Tollefson 30 Mammoth Lakes Pacific
9 Katja Goldring 25 Beverly Hills Southern California 2:35:27
12 Adriana Nelson 36 Mammoth Lakes Southern California 2:39:03
13 Lenore Moreno 25 West Covina Southern California 2:39:44
36 Lauren Jimison 25 Mammoth Lakes Southern California 2:44:37
38 Teresa McWalters 31 San Francisco Pacific 2:45:00
54 Kaitlin Gregg Goodman 29 Davis Pacific 2:48:22
70 Christina Vergara Aleshire 34 Los Angeles Nevada 2:50:30
74 Molly Friel 48 Fresno Pacific 2:51:24
76 Heather Tanner 37 Portola Valley Pacific 2:51:41
83 Jenny Kadavy 33 Clayton Pacific 2:52:32
90 Bonnie Keating 31 Imperial beach San Diego-Imperial 2:53:34
97 Heather McWhirter 37 Pacific Grove Pacific 2:54:34
108 Caroline Boller 41 Solvang Southern California 2:57:12
109 Caitlin Smith 34 Oakland Pacific 2:57:3
114 Allison Maxson 29 Folsom Pacific 2:57:55
115 Bria Wetsch 27 Mammoth Lakes Southern California 2:58:37
131 Jessie Petersen 23 Belmont New York 3:06:00
Sara Hall 32 Redding Southern California DNF
Lindsey Scherf 29 Palo Alto Pacific DNF
Tori Tyler 28 Oakland Pacific DNF
Anna Bretan 31 Berkeley Pacific DNF
Caitlin Bullock 30 Mountain View North Carolina DNF
Lindsay Tollefson 30 Roseville Pacific DNF
Shaluinn Fullove 38 Palo Alto Pacific DNF
Kelly Calway 31 Stanford Pacific DNF
Liza Reichert 28 Los Altos Hills Pacific DNF
Claire Rethmeier 29 Carlsbad San Diego-Imperial DNF
Sabina Piras 26 San Diego San Diego-Imperial DNF
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Mark Winitz has written about running and track and field, organized programs for runners, and served as a consultant and publicist for road races for almost 40 years. He is a longtime activist within USA Track & Field and is a certified USATF Master Level Official/Referee. He also assists road racing events through his company, Win It!z Sports Public Relations and Promotions in Los Altos, CA.