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MANTZ, O’KEEFFE WIN THRILLING OLYMPIC TRIALS MARATHON

MANTZ, O'KEEFFE WIN THRILLING OLYMPIC TRIALS MARATHON

MANTZ, O’KEEFFE WIN THRILLING OLYMPIC TRIALS MARATHON
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2024 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with Permission ORLANDO (03-Feb) — Conner Mantz and Fiona O’Keeffe scored impressive victories this morning at the USA Olympic Team Trials Marathon, clinching their Paris Olympic team spots with strong times.  Mantz, 27, who had the fastest qualifying time for these Trials, broke away late in the race with his training partner Clayton Young and finished in 2:09:05, just three seconds slower than Ryan Hall’s 2007 event record.  Young only finished a second back and also made the Olympic team.  O’Keeffe, 25, made a sensational marathon debut, pulling away from the pack in the 19th mile and running alone to the finish in a Trials record of 2:22:10, a USA debut record.  Behind her, Emily Sisson (2:22:42) and Dakotah Lindwurm (2:25:31) booked the other two team spots.The third-place man, Leonard Korir, only secured a provisional team spot.  The USA has not yet “unlocked” a third quota position for the Paris 2024 Men’s Marathon, and Korir’s time today of 2:09:57 was well off the 2:08:10 required by World Athletics to secure a third spot.  It is still possible for him to secure a team berth through the World Athletics points system or if another USA athlete runs below the time standard by May 5th.  It is largely out of Korir’s hands at this point.

PANNING BREAKS THE RACE OPEN

Zach Panning, the top American from last summer’s World Athletics Championships Marathon, was the first athlete to make a serious move in today’s men’s race.  Panning, 28, who trains with the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project, surged to the lead in the middle of the sixth mile, recording a 4:49 mile split.  Sixteen men stayed with him, but that would soon change.

“When I saw Zach hit the front at five and a half miles, I looked at Clayton,” said Mantz, who represents Nike.  “I just looked at him.  I didn’t even nod.  He looked at me, and I was like, we’re going for it.”

Panning, wearing a bright yellow cap and sunglasses, ran a blistering series of miles: 4:49, 4:48, 4:47, 4:51, 4:49, 4:48, and 4:52 through the 13-mile mark.  He hit halfway in 1:04:07, which put the Paris qualifying standard of 2:08:10 within his grasp.  Only seven other men were able to hold that pace: Mantz, Young, Korir, Teshome Mekonen, Galen Rupp, Elkanah Kibet, Andrew Colley, Shadrack Kipchirchir, and Nathan Martin.

Panning felt…

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