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Rupp victorious in debut, Cragg runs for redemption at U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon


LOS ANGELES -- Battling a stacked field and warm temperatures, Galen Rupp (Portland, Oregon) was impressive in winning his marathon debut, while 2012 Olympian Amy Cragg (Leavenworth, Kansas) found redemption at the finish after her fourth place finish in 2012. Rupp and Cragg were victorious at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon, crossing in 2:11:12 and 2:28:20, respectively.

In total, six athletes will be nominated for the U.S. Olympic Team: Rupp, Meb Keflezighi (San Diego, California) and Jared Ward (Provo, Utah) on the men’s side, and Cragg, Desiree Linden (Chula Vista, California) and Shalane Flanagan (Marblehead, Massachusetts) from the women’s field.

Rupp was one of 52 first-time marathoners toeing the line on Saturday, as 361 athletes total started the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon. Rupp hung towards the back of the pack in the early going, letting Nick Arciniaga (Fountain Valley, California) take the lead in the first 5 km. Fernando Cabada (Fresno, California) took over the reins from Arciniaga, leading the men’s pack of 20 athletes through mile 4 before Tyler McCandless (Boulder, Colorado) made a bold move at mile 5 and led for the next two miles.

The men stayed as pack through much of the race, with many athletes exchanging the lead until Tyler Pennel (Blowing Rock, N.C.) made a huge move at 25 km to break open the race, bringing Tim Ritchie (Brighton, Massachusetts), Rupp and Keflezighi with him. The latter three broke away a mile following Pennel’s surge and stayed together until mile 18, where Rupp and Keflezighi made a surge of their own to create space for the marathon rookie and veteran.

Rupp and Keflezighi, teammates on the U.S. Olympic team in London, seemed to challenge one another to lead with both men jockeying for position over the next few miles. As the duo came through their final lap through the USC campus, Rupp threw down the hammer to break away from the 2004 Olympic silver medalist and put some serious distance between himself and the field.

As Rupp came through the final mile, he stayed focused on the finish and waiting to celebrate until he pumped his fist crossing the line in 2:11:12. Rupp became the first American to make an Olympic marathon team in his marathon debut since 1968 (George Young). Rupp’s time was the sixth-fastest winning time for the men’s Olympic Trials and the fifth-fastest U.S. marathon debut ever.

Keflezighi greatly enjoyed his final steps in Los Angeles, cheering with the crowd and grabbing an American flag from a fan with 400 meters to go. Keflezighi finished in 2:12:20, and will become the oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history when Team USA competes in Rio in August.

With some jockeying for third, Ward overtook Pennel and then Puskedra as he surged on the final lap, earning the final spot on his first U.S. Olympic Team with his third-place finish of 2:13:00. Ward didn’t let the California temperatures affect him, having won the USATF Marathon Championships in 2015 under similar conditions.

The women’s pack stayed intact until mile 9, where Kellyn Taylor (Flagstaff, Arizona), Sara Hall (Redding, California), Cragg and Flanagan broke away from the pack. The quad stayed together through USC’s campus before Cragg and Flanagan made their move at mile 10 to break away from Taylor and Hall. The teammates made it look easy despite the conditions, encouraging each other with each step.

Linden was nearly a minute back from the leaders with five miles remaining, but chipped away at their lead as the Bowerman Track Club duo approached the final 5 km. With two miles remaining, Flanagan appeared to falter and Cragg had to make the difficult decision to leave her teammate with Linden charging behind them.

Linden passed Flanagan to take over second but Cragg had already dropped the hammer and was over 20 seconds ahead coming down the final stretch of the loop course. Cragg, with the finish in her sights, couldn’t help but smile as she came into Gil Lindsay Plaza. Cragg crossed in 2:28:20, leaving the memories of her 2012 fourth-place disappointment behind her.

Linden rallied the crowd as she turned the final corner, cheering and pumping up the fans as she crossed the finish in 2:28:54 to make her second U.S. Olympic Team. Flanagan proved she’s as tough as she comes, battling to close in 2:29:19 to make her fourth U.S. Olympic team. Flanagan has now finished top three at every qualifying event for U.S. teams she’s ever attempted, dating as far back as her first in 2004.

The trio turned in the sixth, seventh and eighth fastest all-time women’s performances at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon.

For interviews and more from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon, visit USATF.TV. Join the conversation with #USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #LA2016.


Fast Facts - U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon

Weather: sunny, clear

Temperature: 66F (start); 73F (finish) -- hottest OMT ever

Wind: WSW at 5 to 10 mph


Qualifiers = 211 (second most behind 1984)

Declared = 166

Starters = 166

Finishers = 105

The second most finishers combined (men and women) at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials = 254 (largest, 1984 = 304)

Prize purse = $300,000 (Trials record) with $80,000 for the Olympic Trials champion

Half-Marathon split = 1:06:32 (Tim Richie)

Galen Rupp became the second man to win the Trials in his marathon debut; George Young was the first (Alamosa 1968). Rupp was the first to win the Trials in his marathon debut with a half-marathon qualifying time.

Rupp’s 2:11:12 was 4th fastest winning OMT time (11th all-time) and the 5th fastest U.S. debut marathon.

At age 40, Meb Keflezighi is the oldest U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials men’s champion (previous oldest, Meb Keflezighi, 36, in 2012).

Keflezighi earns third U.S. Olympic marathon team spot (2004, 2012 and 2016) and fourth U.S. Olympic team overall (2000, 10,000m), the third Olympic team for Rupp and first for Jared Ward.

Keflezighi’s time – 2:12:20 – broke his own U.S. Masters marathon record.

3 personal records set by (not counting debuts):

Augusto Maiyo, 2:18:33

Benjamin Payne, 2:18:37

Will Nation, 2:25:54


Qualifiers = 246 (tie second most with 1988 behind 1984)

Declared = 202

Starters = 198

Finishers = 149

The second most finishers combined (men and women) at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials = 254 (largest, 1984 = 304)

Prize purse = $300,000 (Trials record) with $80,000 (women’s record) for the Olympic Trials champion

Half-Marathon split = 1:14:30 (Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg)

This race produced the #6-8 all-time Olympic Trials performances:

2:25:38  1 Shalane Flanagan (2012)

2:25:55  2 Desiree Davila (2012)

2:26:06  3 Kara Goucher (2012)

2:27:17  4 Amy Hastings (2012)

2:28:25  1 Colleen De Reuck (2004)

2:28:20  1 Amy Cragg (2016)

2:28:54  2 Desiree Linden (2016)

2:29:19  3 Shalane Flanagan (2016)

2:29:35  1 Deena Kastor (2008)

2:29:38  2 Deena Kastor (2004)

Fourth Olympic team for Shalane Flanagan; second for Amy Cragg and Desiree Linden

4 personal records set by (not counting debuts):

Maegen Krifchin, 2:33:28

Katja Goldring, 2:35:21

Alia Gray, 2:35:47

Lenore Moreno, 2:39:38

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