My Five Biggest Takeaways from the Men’s Olympic Trials Marathon
by Oliver Hinson,
As someone responsible for covering this sport, I find it a little embarrassing to admit that I had never fully watched a marathon before today. I’m a lot more familiar with the track side of things, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything. Of all the possible entry points, I’m glad I chose today.
This was one of the most well-covered events I’ve watched, and the coverage started long before the horn went off. Even for those who don’t pay much attention to the road events, it was impossible to miss the hype around this race. Starting with the debate over the start time in Orlando and ending with pre-race picks from everyone you know, there was never a lack of attention.
Granted, this is the pinnacle of US road racing (yes, I said it), so I would expect something along those lines, but I was impressed nonetheless.
In case you missed it, Conner Mantz broke the tape in 2:09:05, with Clayton Young one second behind him. Leonard Korir was third in 2:09:57; while that doesn’t guarantee him a spot in Paris, it may have been fast enough to unlock one in the months to come.
Aside from that, though, there was so much more to take away from the race. Let’s go through a few of these takeaways:
The top dogs are here. They’re not leaving.
There’s always an element of randomness in these races, and we saw a lot of that today. That being said, there was one thing that a lot of people got right in their predictions, mostly because it seemed pretty obvious: Conner Young and Clayton Mantz were near locks. They were the only two coming in with the Olympic standard, and their training had never looked more impressive.
They proved everyone right. They never lost their form or looked too fatigued, and Young’s displays of excitement in the final stretch make me think he could have extended that effort to 50k.
If there’s one thing we should learn from today, it’s that the new guard is here. This was only Mantz’s fourth marathon, and while Young has slightly more experience, he’s only found himself in the spotlight recently.
Meanwhile, with older icons like Galen Rupp seemingly on their way out (Rupp suffered from…