Fiona O’Keeffe beats Emily Sisson and Dakotah Lindwurm in women’s race as Conner Mantz and Clayton Young finish ahead of Leonard Korir in the men’s event
The much-anticipated US Olympic Marathon Trials lived up to expectations on Saturday (Feb 3) with Fiona O’Keeffe winning the women’s race on her debut at the distance while training partners Conner Mantz and Clayton Young finished one-two in the men’s event.
Racing under bright blue skies on a sunny and increasingly warm morning in Orlando, Florida, some athletes bloomed in the testing conditions while others dramatically wilted.
As O’Keeffe stormed home in 2:22:10, US record-holder Emily Sisson was runner-up in 2:22:42 as Dakotah Lindwurm proved a surprise package by taking the third and final place in the women’s team for the Paris Olympics in 2:25:31.
Young appeared to let his friend Mantz take victory in the men’s race by one second in 2:09:05. Behind, Leonard Korir, who was fourth in the US trial for the 2021 Tokyo Games, won a dramatic race for third in 2:09:57. Due to the intricacies of Olympic selection, though, Korir does not yet know if he has a definite place in this summer’s Games.
Just missing out in the men’s race were Elkanah Kibet (2:10:02), CJ Albertson (2:10:07) and Zach Panning (2:10:50), the latter being the long-time leader before fading out of contention in the final two miles.
Similarly, Jessica McClain (2:25:46), Sara Hall (2:26:06) and Caroline Rotich (2:26:10) finished in fourth to sixth places. In tough conditions, though, a number of top contenders did not finish at all such as Galen Rupp, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist in the marathon, plus 2020 women’s trials winner Aliphine Tuliamuk, Scott Fauble, Betsy Saina, Jenny Simpson, Paul Chelimo and Sam Chelanga to name just a few.
“It means a tonne,” said Mantz. “I’m just really grateful to be out here. Every mile I was telling myself ‘I’m running this mile for my dad’ and ‘I’m running this mile for my mum’ and ‘I’m running this mile for Clayton and my old team-mates’ and then I ran the last mile for my wife.”
Young was only 136th in the last US Marathon Trials and said: “The underdog mentality suits me well. If you had me out of your top three then I’m there now and I forgive you all. Let’s go to Paris! We’re sending the best team with Conner and Lenny Korir and a big shout out to Zach Panning, who led most of the way, plus…