The Olympic Marathon Trials are happening in January in Houston Texas. I am a huge fan of all things running, so I have been closely following the excitement.
In this blog update I will pick my favorites for the top 3 and a few dark horses who I think have an outside shot at making the team. I am sticking with the women in this update and plan to do the men in another blog.
First things first: The Favorites
Shalane Flanagan: A stud on the track. Once held the AR in the 5k, holds the AR in the 10k. Bronze medal at the Olympics at 10k. Ran her first full marathon last fall at New York running 2:28:40 and placing second. She does not have the fastest marathon PR in the field nor is she the most experienced. I believe she is the favorite for the win because she has the fastest track times and in a recently ran 1:09 for a half marathon in a very controlled effort. I think the race will be controlled by Flanagan. The only person I think capable of beating her at the trails is:
Desiree Davila: Davila is a pure marathoner. This past spring she dropped down to the track to gain some speed and PR’d in 5k and 10k and Half-Marathon. She has the fastest time run this year (not fastest PR) running 2:22:38 in Boston (also placing second). She runs her own race and isn’t afraid to make big moves. I think she has more experience than Flanagan and this could give her the edge. She should be the favorite, but for some reason is always overlooked.
The others that will fight for a spot on the team:
Kara Goucher: Should be listed as a favorite but has had a rough year. In 2010 she took some time away from the sport to have a child. She returned to competition in Jan 2011 by running an impressive 1:09. Since then she has dealt with a stress fracture, hip injury, and a recent coaching swap. I still think she has a very good shot of making the team because she has lots of experience, talent, and is a very tough racer.
Deena Kastor: Has been the favorite at the trails many times. She has an Olympic bronze medal at the marathon and also holds the AR in the marathon. She has the fastest PR of the field with a 2:19:36. The reason she is not listed as a favorite is age. At 38 she is getting close to the end of her professional marathoning career. She also has recently taken time off to have a baby and I am not sure how this will affect the kind of shape she will be in. She should not be counted out.
Magdalena Lewy-Boulet: Placed second at the last Olympic Trials. Boast a PR of 2:26. Age is a factor with Lewy-Boulet also. She looked great at the last trials, but that was 4 years ago. She has an outside shot this year, but it seems like the youngsters are taking over.
Amy Hastings: Had a breakthrough year this year in track and on the roads. Dropped her 5k pr significantly and then ran an impressive marathon (2:27). She trains with Deena Kastor and has only just begun at marathon. She definitely is someone to watch if the pace plays into her favor.
Stephanie Roth: Also had a break through year. She finally figured out some nutrition issues and has improved a ton. She boasts a 2:29 marathon PR from this year and a 1:08 half marathon PR. In a recent interview she said her training was going even better than it was when she ran 2:29. Look for her to make a splash and probably place top 5 if not better.
Molly Pritz: After a bit of drama surrounding her coaching situation (switching from brooks-hansons to a private coach) she rebounded with a VERY impressive marathon debut 2:31:52. At 23 years old she is one of the youngest ladies in the trials and will definitely be making a splash in later years. Look for her to steal a spot from a veteran.
It’s going to be a very exciting race!