Fastest marathon ever!… for me at least! I was glued to the TV to watch the LA Olympic Marathon Trials today. It was such an exciting race!! Thankfully (FOR ONCE) they put it live on a major network and I could watch it on a huge screen in my house instead of my tiny laptop, which I appreciate for my super fan-ing.
I had so many favorites going into this race but of course I’m a constant fan of Meb Keflezighi, Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, and Desiree Linden. But there are at least a dozen more to fan over lately at the marathon level! Amy Hastings Cragg was so strong last trials (finished 4th) but this year she killed it! AND she showed what an honorable person/great friend/teammate she is by fervently and continuously motivating her training partner Shalane Flannagan along when she entered a rough spot at mile 23. Shalane ended up making the team (which she credits Cragg for helping her achieve) by getting 3rd place after Desi Linden but collapsed at the finish line. It was crazy!
I’m telling you this race was nail biting throughout! I kept wondering where Desi Linden was because she was the one I was SURE was going to Rio… and she’s way in the back, 20 runners behind!! Eventually the race commentators came on and said that it was her plan to stay in the back and relax until the end and save some for Rio. Whew! But I was still freaking for her when four of them broke away before the half and Desi didn’t go with them! EEK!!! You gotta hand it to whoever her race strategists/coaches are though. I’m sure their hands are sore from all the high-fiving they’ve been doing today because it worked!
Special congrats to Kara Goucher today who came in 4th. A total bummer of course to come in 4th (the race commentators so crassly stated that “fourth is nothing”) but the way she was talking leading up to this race it seemed like she was talking about coming in 40th! She really downplayed her strength in my opinion because she looked amazing out there! For a while they were thinking she’d get the 3rd spot. I wish 4 people could go to Rio for Team USA!
The guy’s side of the marathon trials wasn’t as crazy exciting but it was still surprising. I cannot believe Meb is still up there showing everyone how it’s done! Wow. And here I thought he’d just sort of take that Boston victory and revel in his amazing accomplishments thus far. Nope! He’s going to Rio! I think they said he’s going to the Olympics more times than anyone in U.S. history and the oldest Olympic marathoner in U.S. history. Then you had Galen Rupp and Jared Ward sort of coming out of nowhere (as far as commentary was concerned), with Rupp winning the whole thing on his debut marathon! He qualified with a half marathon time and on his first marathon, the Olympic Trials, he WON!! How crazy is that?! And Jared Ward looked so happy coming across the line! I loved watching all of them race.
The whole race was great and the NBC coverage wasn’t bad either. In the beginning I was getting annoyed that they weren’t showing more of the race. They were putting 5 minutes of commercials to every 90 seconds of video on the runners (it doesn’t count if “race coverage” is on the announcers on the sideline interviewing people). But they seemed to really tighten up the coverage towards the end so I’m happy about that! …. But if I could be a little picky here… I’d love for more PRE race coverage, with the athletes getting ready on the line and all the introductions that I KNOW happen before the start gun goes off. Can’t we see that? We run fans celebrate every bit of the race day process! And come on, show beyond the lead pack of 3 or 4 people! There are great runners out there and it wouldn’t kill you to pan down the line a bit from time to time would it?? I wanted to see Fernando Cabada and Sara Hall and Dathan Ritzenhein run, to name but a few!
I hope you all got to see the race today! I’m not sure how many regular runners or marathon runners follow elite running. According to one of the Runner’s World Magazine editors I talked to, it’s not many. That’s a bummer because professional runners really could use the fan support. Think about it, if we don’t support these great runners and tune in for these races, then the sponsors don’t go out and financially support them so they can run. And if they can’t make running their day job, then they can’t compete like this. Let’s support our runners and their sponsors! TEAM USA!!!
I had everyone I know tuning in for the trials today! (conveniently everyone I know is sick so it was easy to get them to tune in from their sick beds… myself included)
Did you watch the Olympic Marathon Trials today? What did you think about the race?