Galen Rupp has run two marathons. In the first, he won the Olympic Trials. In the second, he took the Olympic bronze medal, and tomorrow, in his third, he will run his first Boston Marathon. Just how will he do?
I first saw Galen Rupp race at the Nike Border Clash in 2002, where he placed second. In his second year, Galen Rupp came back and set a course record of 13:48 on the 4400 meter course. From 2003 to 2008, Galen Rupp ran at the University of Oregon and built into a fine distance runner. Going from a fine distance runner to an Olympic medalist is a whole different story.
In 2008, Galen finished 13th in the Olympic Trials 10,000 meters. Over the next four years, under his coach, Alberto Salazar, Galen developed his skills. In 2010, Galen Rupp was joined by a new training partner, Mo Farah. As Alberto Salazar told us later, he was very pleased that Mo and Galen complemented each other in training. I recall watching them go 1-2 in Birmingham DL over 5000 meters in July 2011, and then complete a series of tempo miles. They looked seemless.
The 2012 Olympic 10,000 meters surprised me. I thought that Mo Farah would probably win the gold medal, which he did in fine fashion. But, I did not believe that Galen would challenge for medals for a few more years. His focus, his presense and his last 800 meters were spectacular, as he charged over the last 200 meters to take the silver medal behind his training partner.
In 2013, 2015 and 2016, Galen Rupp was, and is, always in the fight over 10,000 meters. In Beijing 2015, Galen Rupp took fifth in both the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters.
Like Frank Shorter in 1972, where Shorter ran the 10,000m and marathon, Galen Rupp planned just for that, with coach Alberto Salazar.
In his first marathon, Galen Rupp ran 2:11.13 for the win in the Olympic Trials. In his second, Galen Rupp took the bronze in the Rio Olympics, holding on for an Olympic medal in his second marathon.
Just how will Galen Rupp do at the Boston marathon in a few hours?
Well, my experience has been that Galen Rupp would not show up to a race if he and coach Salazar are not confident in his fitness and racing fitness. Galen Rupp has the skills to do well over this course. Galen Rupp is the consumate racer, and his battles over 10,000 meters at international levels for the past eight years surely have calloused him for marathon racing.
In the Boston Marathon, the first fifteen miles mean very little. Stay out of trouble and get ready for the hills. For Rupp, if he keeps his cool, the hills will just warm him up. If he can keep his cool, and get a feel of who he is racing, Galen Rupp, should be in the thick of it.
In Boston, if Galen Rupps’ foot stays good, he should be able to battle his competition over the last 5000 meters, and break them with 2000 meters to go.
It will be fascinating to see how Galen Rupp does in his first Boston.
Does he have the talent to win this iconic marathon?
We think so, but we will have to wait like you and see how he battles the field.
In any case, it will be fun.