Recently in 2020 Oly Trials Marathon Category


2020 U.S. Olympic Trials, the women's start, photo by Kevin Morris

[Part II of a two-part series]

"Life is What Happens to You While You're Busy Making Other Plans." -- John Lennon.

This is part 2 of 2 part series on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials, David Hunter gives us an inside view on the top 3 women, as he had covered the top 3 men last week, and how they made the U.S. Olympic team, but also how they are dealing with the pandemic and the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

It makes amazing reading and gives the reader a real appreciation of the skill sets needed to make an Olympic team, but also, once one has made the team, how to manage the challenges in the modern world.

[Part One of a two-part series]

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials was the last major event in athletics just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 29 February 2020, almost 240 men marathoners and 450 women marathoners, the best in the U.S., competed on a challenging, 4 loop course in downtown Atlanta, with an estimated 250,000 enthusiasts cheering and cajoling.

This is part one, with an interview with the top 3 men (next week, top 3 women), discussing the event, but also, how they are managing expectations and training, in a COVID-19 pandemic.

Men_Start-1-OTM20.jpgThe Men's start, 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, photo by Kevin Morris

Special thanks to all athletes involved, and their management teams, on staying available. Special thanks to Dave Hunter on writing this series and giving us good things to contemplate in this time of the pandemic.

"Life is What Happens to You While You're Busy Making Other Plans." -- John Lennon.

The U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials was held on 29 February 2020. It was a magnifiscent event. The Atlanta Track club should be quite proud of the event. It was the largest marathon trials in history. 260 men and 460 women competed on the three lap (8.2 miles each), course, plus one loop of 2.2 miles.

20200229 MEN WOMEN KL.JPGMolly Seidel, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Sally Kipyego, Jake Riley, Galen Rupp, Abdi Abdirahman, photo by Kirby Lee

Both teams made it fair and square. Each had a story to tell. Molly Seidel made the team in her marathon debut. Sally Kipyego made the team as a new US citizen. Aliphine Tuliamuk, after a slew of injuries, made the top spot for women. On the men's side, Jake Riley made his first team, after surviving years of injuries and bad luck. Galen Rupp won a brilliant second Olympic Trials marathon, making his 4th team. Abdi Abdirahman took third, making his 5th Olympic team!

These six should be the team for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

That is the theme of this podcast.

Special thanks to Mike Deering of the Shoe Addicts for the production of podcast.

The course did not have a flat section on it. The winds hit you hard in the face, and made the course even harder. Put 230 of the finest U.S. men and 460 of the finest US women, and you had a day of reckoning. The Atlanta Track Club did a fantastic job, and the accolades came from athletes, coaches and fans.

In the mens race, the big pack as about 50 seconds back from 8:27 steeple/2;13.27 marathon man Brian Shrader, who lead the marathon by 50 seconds at the halfway in 1:04:53. Galen Rupp put in a big surge, taking the lead between 16-17. Augustus Maiyo, Leonard Korir, Abdi Abdiraham and Matt McDonald were there. Then comes Jacob Riley and the battle for second raged as Galen Rupp looked better and better as he began to move away, taking the second OT marathon title, (equalling only Frank Shorter's 2 wins) in 2:09.20. Jacob Riley took second in 2:10.02 PB and Abdi Abdirahman took the bronze irrn 2:10:03.

2020 oly teams.jpgThe men's and women's US Olympic teams for the Tokyo 2020 Marathon team! photo by AJC

Aliphine Tuliamuk and Molly Seidel broke away after 21 miles with Emily Sisson, Molly Huddle, Des Linden, Emma Bates, Laura Thweat, Kellyn Taylor all there. Seidel, in her debut, and Tuliamuk and Kipyego wanted the team badly, and they made it. The three 8 mile loops were tough enough, but the wind, the cold and the fans all kept the marathoners in a state of constant involvement. Aliphine Tuliamuk took the women's title in 2:27.23, Molly Seidel was second, in her debut, in 2:27.31, and Sally Kipyego was third in 2:28:52. Des Linden was a heart breaking 2:29.03, 11 seconds back!

The Atlanta Track Club put on an excellent Olympic Trials.

tuliamuk.jpgAliphine Tuliamuk, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics

COL_Ryan.jpgColonel Seanl Ryan, WCAP Track & Field coach, photo by US Army

Chelimo.jpgPaul Chelimo takes USATF Indoor title, 2019, photo by

This is the final piece of our Atlanta 2020 preview, done by Jeff Benjamin. Jeff just reminded me of this one!

IMG_1165.JPGSign at US Olympic Trials, photo by Larry Eder

The pressers were well attended, and the athletes were good interviews. I do get disturbed when Olympic reporters ask the easy questions, I.e, " how does the coronavirus affect you?" To which Scott Fauble noted the he did not have it. Also any questions on the Nike shoe, is, well just crap. How about recognizing the 700 plus stories here of how elite athletes made it to the Olympic Trials?

As I walked around today, chatting with media, at the US Olympic Trials presser, a key observer aked me about Galen Rupp, "how good of shape is he in?" I noted that anyone who can run 61.30 or so for a half marathon is in fine shape. This 2020 Trials will take 2:10 to make the men's team. Galen would not be here if he could not compete. Jeff Benjamin asked Galen many questions and he answered them, thanks to agent Ricky Simms.

image0-5.jpegJeff Benjamin speaks with Galen Rupp, photo by Jeff Benjamin

image1-2.jpegGalen Rupp, Rio 2016, taken by Jeff Benjamin on the course!

abdirahman_abdi1.jpgAbdi Abdiraham, photo by NYRR Media

Abdi Abdiraham is one of those few athletes who remains world class past 40. In fact, some of his best efforts have come past that age. Jeff Benjamin reached out to Abdi this past week, just before Atlanta 2020.

Jared Ward is one of a handful of men who can make the team. He has done this before, and he can do it again. Jeff Benjamin reached out to Jared and got back to us, at 2:10 speed!

He is one of the real players on Saturday!

image0-3.jpegJeff Benjamin and Jared Ward, by Jeff Benjamin

This was built up as the chance to see Des Linden prior to Atlanta 2020. The Brooks event was well choreographed, and you will see my part in the final minute. (we will post it separately).

The Brooks Club was set up in the Southpoint Club, where drip cofffee is a work of art, and where designers can work to their hearts content and drink coffee for $80 a month. Brooks set up the space well, showing off new product and retro.

Des Linden, Nikhail Jain and Mario Fraoli were in the media booth.

IMG_1131.JPGFeb 27, 2020, the Brooks Hyperion Presser, photo by Larry Eder

Des Linden is one of the most important marathoners of this century. She developed over many years and her development from high school track and cross country to college track and cross country. Her relationship with the Boston marathon, her seven runs there, and 2 times as an Olympian make her a crowd favorite and a perfect brand Ambassador for Brooks shoes. Des Linden looks like she has a fine chance to make her third Olympic team.

Nikhail Jain is one of my favorite shoe people. An aside, ten years ago, at Boston, I was with my footwear editor Cregg Weinmann. We found an unbusy corner in the Hynes convention center and one, by one, Nikhail explained each shoe to me in his then brand's collection. I have never seen a presentation like that since. Jain is one of the brightest shoe people in the business. His involvement in the Hyperion series makes total sense.

Mario Fraoli is content developer, coach, podcaster (, blogger and a fine marathoner. He hosted the event with aplomb, juggling the need to keep Brooks happy, showcase Des, and also expose the fascinating story of how shoes get developed.

Agent Josh Cox was there to help Des Linden juggle her busy media day.

How will Des do on Saturday? I see Des Linden, keeping her stuff together and battling for a spot on the Olympic team, and making it. She knows how to weather these waters. She is a champion. Do not be surprised if she takes second once again, or, takes the whole shebang. Des Linden has guts.

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