It’s finally here! The Marathon Olympic Trials are tomorrow, so it’s time to finally make my picks. Want to enter your picks? Join my prediction contest here.
First place: Jordan Hasay
If Jordan is healthy, I don’t see how she doesn’t win. She has the fastest PR, had the fastest marathon debut, and has experience in major marathons. Plus, she’ll be in the shoes.
All of her social media posts have been positive regarding her training, and she’s certainly putting it out there that her hamstring is fully recovered after pulling out of Chicago back in October. I think she distanced herself well from all of the Salazar drama in the fall, and she didn’t attend the pre-race press conference yesterday, so there was no opportunity for anyone to ask her about it again to try to rile her up.
Second place: Sara Hall
Sara Hall’s 2:22 breakthrough in Berlin was a long time coming. She’s a consistent high-performer, and I think now is her time.
Third place: Des Linden
Des is the only returning marathon Olympian, and she’s an absolute beast. I cried when she won Boston in 2018. With the challenging course and stacked field, I see Des being able to weather any storm the course or conditions throw at her as well as cover any moves made by the competition.
Des will be celebrating with whiskey on Saturday night after making her 3rd Olympic team.
In no particular order because this field is just too deep.
The NAZ Elite Trio
If there was an award for the coolest contender, Kellyn Taylor would win hands down. In addition to being a runner and a mom, Taylor is a firefighter and foster parent. I also recently learned on a podcast interview that her husband was deployed when she gave birth to her daughter, which further adds to her being a total badass.
Stephanie Bruce and Aliphine Tuliamuk round out the NAZ Elite training group. They all ran smoking fast half marathons in January to tune up for the trial, and I imagine they’ll be working together during the race.
The New Balance and Saucony Training Partners
Molly Huddle and Emily Sisson are two serious contenders with many considering Sisson the favorite for the race. I just don’t know enough about Sisson to put her in my top 3. Her 2:23:08 debut was the fastest by an American woman on a record-eligible course, but the Trials will be her second marathon on a vastly different course.
Huddle is a more experienced marathoner, excellent road racer, and led the American charge on the track at the 2016 Olympics. Her PR isn’t as fast as Sisson’s or others in the field, but her experience performing well in a high-stakes event makes her seriously dangerous.
And a couple more…
Sally Kipyego is another front-runner that I don’t know too much about, but 2:25 puts her in serious contention. Finally, Emma Bates came roaring into the marathon scene when she won CIM in 2018 and then lowered her PR to 2:25 at Chicago in the fall. I learned in my research that she lives off the grid, so she certainly has some grit!
Disclaimer: I know a lot less about the men’s field.
First place: Galen Rupp
After Rupp’s 61 tune up half marathon, he seems a lock for the team.
Second place: Jared Ward
Ward literally wrote his dissertation on marathon pacing. He and his mustache will be representing the US again this year in the marathon.
Third place: Leonard Korir
Korir had the fastest debut of an American marathoner. He’s a bit of a wild card since it will only be his second marathon, but a sub-2:08 is hard to discount.
Fourth place: Scott Fauble
I really want Scott Fauble to make the team. The top 4 are so tight, but I’m not sure he’s in the top 3 of those 4.
Fifth place: Bernard Lagat
Lagat is not ranked in the top 10, but he has #oldmanstrength. Plus he just finished up a training stint in Kenya where he ran with Kipchoge. I’m not counting him out.