In a very well-written and thought out arguement by Peter Gambiccini in Runner’s World online on 12/8/15, (http://www.runnersworld.com/olympic-trials/is-galen-rupp-planning-to-run-the-olympic-marathon-trials), it was discussed whether Galen Rupp would be running a half marathon in Portland, Oregon this coming weeking, in the hopes of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon.
There may be more to this than meets the eye.
Last Saturday, I was in Portland, Oregon, enjoying the nearly constant rain, mud and slosh that made the NXN an extraordinary event. The top boys and girls teams and many of the top high school individuals battled over 5000 meters at the Glendoveer Golf course, for bragging rights on who the best teams and NXN champions are. Katie Rainsberger won the girls and Casey Clinger won the boys in superb individual races. Manilius won for the 9th straight time on the girls team side and Temecula won the boys’ team battle.
The NXN grew out of the Nike Border Clash event, now in its 17th year. The Border Clash is a cross country meet, held on the Nike campus, where the top boys and girls from Washington and Oregon battle for cross country high school bragging rights.
The NXN, is now in its 11th year. And it is a spectacular event. Nike has shown what can happen when a major brand gets behind a high school support, to celebrate the 550,000 high school boys and girls who run cross country, in races where a dog, a few families and team members are the normal crowd. The NXN pits the top teams and individuals from 8 regional races, plus teams invited from California, to battle for team supremacy. The NXN was a hit from its first year.
That there was competition between FootLocker and NXN was obvious. One might say that NXN grew out of Nike’s challenges at trying to work with FootLocker.
Now it it’s 37th year, the FootLocker Cross Country continues to endure. The two championships have very different DNAs: NXN is the team championships with a fine individual champs, FootLocker is the Horatio Alger story for cross country: a kid from North Dakota can win the race, and title, without a big team behind him. I have to admit I like both.
As usual, I digressed.
I was watching the NXN, near the finish, when I was fortunate enough to chat with Mo Farah, Galen Rupp, Matt Centrowtiz, Simon Bariu, and Emily Infeld. I was finally able to tell Emily how emotional her race in Beijing was for me and how we had named her our August Athlete of the month. Mo Farah was relaxed and we exchanged greetings. Centrowitz gave me some trouble, wondering why I spoke to everyone else but him. So, I gave him some pithy commentary.
In chatting with Galen, I asked about his twins and how training was going, noting that he might still be on break. Nothing of the sort, noted Galen. He was training well, Galen noted, but had not really spoken to Alberto about next season yet. That all makes sense.
What Galen Rupp did not comment on was the rumor (then), that he was to run a half marathon that very weekend, or one in Portland the following weekend. I, in fact, was heading to a race in Southwest to see Shalane Flanagan, Amy Hastings Cragg and Kara Goucher run the very next day.
For Galen Rupp to run a half marathon, any half marathon that is U.S.A.T.F certified, in under 1:05 means that he would qualify to run in the U.S.A. Marathon Trials on February 13, 2016.
The idea of Galen Rupp running a marathon has had running fans drooling for some time. With his fine 10,000m skills, and his training, Galen should do quite well over the distance. And while some cite his frustration over the lack of medals in 2013 and 2015, Galen Rupp still seems more than able to add to his mantle as one of America’s finest distance runners.
Having observed Alberto Salazar for many years, one wondered if he picked the Portland based half marathon this coming weekend for the exact reason some think he will not run there: the foreboding weather. It is expected to be 35 degrees, with constant rain and wind. An exact replica of what could happen in LA in mid February? Remember, this is Super El-Nino season in California.
Ricky Simms, the manager of Galen Rupp and Mo Farah, told RW that Galen would be racing this coming weekend over the 13.1 mile distance. Well, good for Galen. He will be ready, and 1:05 should be a tempo run for him.
But, if he does, and the weather is as bad as predicted, he has calloused himself even more, as he and his coach prepare him for what will be an eventful 2016 season.
I am not a betting man (I think it is a conflict of interest with my occupation), but if I was, I would consider a bet that Galen Rupp will seriously consider the marathon and the 10,000 meters this year. And even if he does qualify in LA, whether he runs in Rio is another story. That is for his coach, Alberto Salazar and the athlete, Galen Rupp, to decide what is better scenario for Galen Rupp’s legacy as a top American distance runner.
They must both believe that there is another medal in his future.