Tales of Agony and Ecstasy, such is the Olympic Trials marathon, by Larry Eder


Linden-Flanagan-CraggSt-Boston15.jpgLinden, Flanagan, Cragg, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Olympic Trials marathons are less than twelve hours away and I am a half hour from closing my eyes and drifting off to sleep. I have spent the last three years following around some of the finest athletes in the world as they turn their talents to the cruelest mistress in athletes-the marathon.

Here are some final thoughts, before the reality comes, and some of those athletes I admire are flush with the energy that comes from a race well won, and those covered with salt, sweat, and tears, for races that just did not meet their expectations.

Fourth place in an Olympic Trials is the shit show of our sport. Lisa Rainsberger, one of the most amazing athletes, a swimmer and marathoner, took fourth in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic marathons.

I never knew how Lisa did it, but I respected her for sportsmanship and desire.

Two people will place fourth tomorrow and I do not know how I will interview them tomorrow without misty eyes. But that is part of our Olympic Trials: honest as it is cruel.

Shalane Flanagan-one of the most focused athletes you will ever see in our sport and at the top of her form.

Desi Linden-her return to fitness is one of the least reported stories. Desi may be in the form of her life, and she is one tough, tough athlete. Her battle with Shalane could be the finest marathon we have ever seen in the US Trials.

Amy Cragg-one of my real favorites. Her 10,000m speed, her training with Shalane and her rebuilt confidence make her a real challenger for the top three. Amy Cragg could win the marathon Trials tomorrow.

Kara Goucher-Kara has a refound confidence. She is gutty and she will do all she can tomorrow to make the team.

Kellyn Taylor-she is my spoiler. I like Kellyn's spunk and her gutty running.

Galen Rupp-Galen Rupp would not be here if he was not fit, period. Alberto Salazar would just not allow his star athlete run something like a marathon without forethought.

Meb Kefleizighi-Meb will smile more and more as the temperature gets warmer and the pace slow.

Dathan Ritzenhein-Dathan is a tough as they come, watch him grind it out over the last four to six miles.

Luke Puskedra-he is tough, and he has had the tough races that a marathoner needs to provide them some vision.

Bobby Curtis is my spoiler. This guy could be ready for a great thing or two.

My emotional pick-Brett Gotcher. Brett is in 2:12 shape, what will he need to make it?

We will have to see it all in twelve hours!

See you then!

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