© Copyright – 2018 – Athletics Illustrated

On April 16, armchair quarterbacks throughout North America were giving American marathon runner Galen Rupp flack for dropping out of the 2018 Boston Marathon. Sunday, May 6, he won the Prague Marathon in the time of 2:06:07. He’s back to hero status again.

One would think that the Rio Olympic bronze and London Olympic silver medallist, might know when to run and when to just walk away; by this demonstration, he clearly did.

He wisely dropped out at approximately the 19-mile mark (31K) at Boston.

With the citizen runner, Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi winning the race while expressing great character, he endeared himself to Americans and really the running world, considering the weather was atrocious, with near-freezing temperatures, wind, and heavy rain.

American Desiree Linden did the same; showed character. The wins were run during conditions that levelled the playing field.

At Boston, the difference between Rupp’s intentions and Kawauchi’s and Linden’s was about time. Linden and Kawauchi were after the wins if they could get them, Rupp was after a fast time.

Although he said asthma and hypothermia were issues for him, it is just as likely; he weighed in his mind the idea of running slower than his own personal best and having to compete to the line with the citizen runner. In so doing, keeping him out of the marathon game until fall – it would be a gamble not worth taking. Why not save it for a sunny day?

He told David Monti of Race Results Weekly, “I’m really excited about the opportunity to get into a paced race.  I love championships-style racing.  It’s really important just looking at the perspective from the Olympics.  It’s important that you learn how to run in those types of situations because you’re not going to get pacers at an Olympic Games, Olympic Trials or anything like that.  But, at the same time, I’ve certainly always wanted to get into a faster race and a paced race.  This is shaping up really well.  The weather is supposed to be pretty good on Sunday (about 16C/61F at race time).”

He acquiesced on the notion of taking down Khalid Khannouchi’s American record of 2:05:38, however, suggested improving his own personal record is something that he would like to go after, “I think this is really working out nicely for a great race, between the course, the weather, and the competition, too.  You’ve got some guys who’ve run really fast, so I’m certainly hoping to lower my personal best (currently 2:09:20).  I feel like I’m in good shape to do it.”

It was a good call. He split 63:00 at half-way and went on to win his first big city marathon while finishing within 29 seconds of the American record. He is likely capable of demolishing the American record on a faster course like Berlin, where seven of the top-eight and 11 of the top-21 times have been run.

Stay tuned, there is more to come from the Nike Oregon Project athlete.