Tomorrow will be the biggest field of elite American marathoners ever – it is the US Olympic Marathon Trials. Over 770 runners have qualified to participate in the US Olympic Marathon Trials and that event is tomorrow, February 29. Here is what you need to know.
The US Olympic Marathon Trials – What To Know
Where and When
If you are in Atlanta, this will definitely be a fun event to spectate. For everyone else, it will be broadcast live on NBC (in Atlanta, it will be on WXIA). The race itself will start in two waves – one for the 260 men who have qualified which will start at 12:08PM ET and one wave for the 511 women who have qualified who have their own start time of 12:20PM ET.
If you are in Atlanta, the course designers have laid out some excellent spots where you can catch the action on the route. Check it out here on this page. They have made it so you can see them as many as 6 times from a single spot!
If you want, click this page to live track the event tomorrow.
What the US Olympic Marathon Trials is All About
This race tomorrow is not about a record time but about which 3 men and which 3 women can cross the finish line first. Those 6 runners will be the US representatives at the Olympics in Tokyo for the marathon. Those two events will take place in Sapporo, Japan (here is why) on August 8 for the women and August 9 for the men.
This is the biggest field ever for an Olympic Marathon qualifying event and kudos to the Atlanta Track Club who paid for the travel of all the athletes, not just the “A” series qualifiers.
As to the qualifying times, here is what the runners needed to have run to have qualified to run in the trials tomorrow:
- Men – “A” time for the marathon of 2:15:00 or better
- Men – “B” time for the marathon of 2:19:00 or better
- Men – Half marathon qualifying time for the marathon trials was 1:04:00 or better
- Women – “A” time for the marathon of 2:37:00 or better
- Women – “B” time for the marathon of 2:45:00 or better
- Women – Half marathon qualifying time for the marathon trials was 1:13:00 or better
As you can see for the numbers, almost double the amount of women qualified as the men qualified. But, both men and women have some impressive contenders for the podium tomorrow. Runner’s World did a nice job of breaking some of those athletes and the figures down here.
One thing is for sure – while we all may have our favorites for the race, as Americans, there is the fun fact of knowing that we will come away tomorrow with an American team that I am sure we will be proud of for the Olympics. All of these athletes have put in an amazing amount of work and some of them had to do it while also working full time jobs.
Runner Spotlight: While all the runners are amazing, there is one runner that has an unusual path to this starting line. His name is Jim Walmsley and he holds the Western States 100 mile record at 14 hours and 9 minutes – but he has never run a marathon. How will he do?
There have been some late scratches from the starting list that could throw some things up in the air a bit so it should be a fascinating race to watch!
Fun fact: Unlike normal marathons, this one will need to serve each of these marathoners as elite runners. This means delivering over 3,000 bottles to these runners – and making sure each one gets their own bottle. Find out how this will work.