After much hand-wringing and public discussion about the US Olympic Trials location and course design, as well as a recent confusing letter to the public by the USATF, the Trials finally happened. And, there were surprises on both the men’s and women’s sides.

Winning in the time of 2:09:05 was Conner Mantz and runner-up Clayton Young who finished just one second back in 2:09:06 made the Olympic team on the men’s side. The Paris Olympic standard is 2:08:10.

In the women’s race, Fiona O’Keeffe took the win by clocking a 2:22:10. Emily Sisson finished second in 2:22:42, and Dakotah Lindwurm placed third in 2:25:31 to qualify. The women’s standard is 2:26:50.

Athletes need to run under the standard as well as be positioned top-80 globally to be considered during the qualification period. The men’s approximate 80th athlete globally is Olonbayar Jamsran from Mongolia. As each nation can only send three male and three female athletes, at 2:08:58 Jamsran is the 313th-fastest — but there are so many Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes who have run faster. The US Trials are a little different, if athletes have already run under the standard, are ranked top-80 and place 1, 2 or 3 at Trials, they get to go to Paris this summer.

The men’s race

Conner Mantz (2:07:47, Chicago, 2023) and Clayton Young (2:08:00 Chicago, 2023) were the only two runners in the field who achieved the 2:08:10 Olympic standard prior to the Trials. It would be interesting to see if the USATF would deny an athlete who, for example, ran faster than 2:04 within the qualification period but chose to sit out the Trials.

The pace started conservatively, as the temperatures gradually began to climb. Although it did not get hot, as typical of summer-run global championships, it did warm up to 61F or 20C.

A few potential contenders dropped out before halfway in Scott Fauble, Abdi Abdirahman, and Sam Chelanga. However, Zach Panning, who trains with the Brooks-Hansen team pushed the pace for a number of miles, but it was late in the race that training partners Mantz and Young took over for good.

Panning had run 2:09:28 in Chicago in 2022. Saturday, his hard work throughout the race proved a little rich for him and he would finish in sixth in the time of 2:10:50.

Results

  1. Conner Mantz – 2:09:05
  2. Clayton Young – 2:09:06
  3. Leonard Korir – 2:09:57
  4. Elkanah Kibet – 2:10:02
  5. CJ Albertson – 2:10:07
  6. Zach Panning – 2:10:50
  7. N Martin – 2:11:00
  8. Josh Isewski – 2:11:09
  9. Reed Fischer – 2:11:34
  10. Colin Bennie – 2:12:17
  11. B Simbassa – 2:12:21
  12. C Winter – 2:13:03
  13. C Weaver – 2:13:56
  14. F Zienase – 2:13: 58
  15. D Mesfun – 2:14: 04

Women’s race

Within the first three kilometres, a lead pack formed. At the end of the first loop, Sara Hall, Keira D’Amato, Betsy Saina, Fiona O’Keeffe, Emily Sisson, Emily Durgin, Natosha Rogers, Makenna Myler, and Aliphine Tuliamuk broke away.

Just over an hour into the race Tuliamuk was the first to drop.

The leaders recorded a first-half split of 1:11:43.

By 30K, the lead pack was down to Sisson, O’Keeffe, Hall, Durgin and Saina.

O’Keeffe in her marathon debut broke away heading into the 31K range. By then she was in front after dropping the pace hard on the field. Sisson remained in contention. A battle for third place was taking place a few seconds back between Hall, Saina, Durgin, and Rotich, who came from behind to close in on the leaders and fought hard to take the third spot over the final kms.

O’Keeffe continued to drop the pace and was not getting down to 3:10 territory.

Results

  1. Fiona O’Keeffe – 2:22:10
  2. Emily Sisson – 2:22:42
  3. Dakotah Lindwurm – 2:25:31
  4. J McClain – 2:25:46
  5. Sara Hall – 2:26:06
  6. C Rotich – 2:26:10
  7. M Myler – 2:26:14
  8. Lindsay Flanagan – 2:26:25
  9. Emily Durgin – 2:27:56
  10. A Frisbie – 2:27:56
  11. Des Linden – 2:28:04
  12. S Berry – 2:29:17
  13. M Grabill – 2:30:16

*Cover image by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly.

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