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In Episode 44 we share pre-race thoughts from past guests who are running in the Olympic Trials in L.A. on Saturday (and a few who aren’t). When asked who may surprise to the upside, Nick Arciniaga and Tyler McCandless had the same answer. Gregg and Brenn offer their predictions. True to form, Gregg plays it right down the middle while Brenn plays the longshots. On your mark, get set…
Nobody doubts Alberto Salazar’s determination to help his Nike Oregon Project athletes run fast, but the potions and lotions he has reportedly used to that end have put him in a pickle. In Episode 38, Gregg and Brenn discuss how Salazar has interpreted the rules of track and field, and why it matters.
As elite marathoners reboot between their big spring and fall races, it’s time to take a peak into the future. The 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials are set for Feb. 13, 2016 in Los Angeles. It’s a wide-open field, and we’ve included some names that haven’t yet given the marathon a go, but a lot can change in a few years. Let us know who you think will make the team. And if you happen to be one of the elites ON the list, yes, you may vote for yourself!
The more you follow track and field, the more interesting it becomes. For the merely curious and the obsessive distance fans, here are a few questions to illustrate the drama of the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships (which begin in earnest today and continue through Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa):
1) Will Ben True finish in the top 3 and make it to Worlds? True is focused on the 10,000 tonight, though he also is entered in the 5,000. True is unlike the others: Rupp, Ritz, and Chris Derrick, his primary competition in the 10,000, are sponsored by Nike and train in Oregon. True is sponsored by Saucony and runs for Mark Coogan (who also coaches Abbey D’Agostino) in Hanover, New Hampshire. True graduated from Dartmouth in 2008 after achieving All-American status in running and Nordic skiing.
2) Speaking of Dartmouth, will Dartmouth junior Abbey D’Agostino follow a dominant NCAA season with a victory in the 5,000? Jenny Simpson offers far stiffer competition than anyone D’Agostino faced in college this year. Simpson has the track speed, and given the likely heat in Des Moines, Abbey D’Ag will be hard pressed to take the race from the front from several laps out. Not to be forgotten are the other participants in last year’s dramatic Olympic Trials showdown, Julie Culley, Molly Huddle, Kim Conley, and Julia Lucas. Shalane Flanagan and Mary Cain are also entered, though it would be a surprise to see either run it in addition to the 10,000 and 1,500, respectively. If they were to run, Flanagan would be the more likely of the two to challenge for the win.
3) Will Nick Symmonds win his sixth consecutive championship in the 800 with his patented slingshot kick? Part of what makes the 800 such a thrilling race is the multitude of come-from-behind victories. Symmonds is particularly good at this. With apologies to Khadevis Robinson, he’s facing stronger competition now than he has before. Duane Solomon beat him at the Olympics last year, and Erik Sowinski beat Solomon indoors earlier this year.
4) Will Mary make Moscow? Probably. And though we aren’t rooting against her, it will also be interesting to see how she handles a disappointing race, assuming she ever runs one. Given how genuinely enthusiastic she has been while running well and how levelheaded she seems, she would likely be gracious should she underperform. One way or another, she’s got a long future in the sport.
5) Will Leo Manzano find lightning in a bottle (again) and reverse his early season slump? And if he were to win, might it be in a Nike singlet? The unsponsored silver medalist has been sporting a non-descript sea blue Nike top in races this year, and in an interview about contract negotiations with the company, noted “it is what it is.” His bargaining power would be hurt none by winning the race, though since he’s wearing Nike anyways while not under contract, he’s actually providing the company a marketing alternative to the ubiquitous powder blue tops that have sprouted this year.
While Galen Rupp may be disappointed that he didn’t win the 3,000 yesterday at the New Balance Grand Prix in Boston and that his time (7:33.67) fell short of Bernard Lagat’s indoor American record of 7:32.43, both he and the winner Hagos Gebrhiwet (7:32.87) beat the meet record of 7:34.50, run by Craig Mottram in 2008. The memorable Dejen Gebremeskel/Mo Farah race in 2011 was won by Gebremeskel in 7:35.37. Yesterday Rupp dispatched Gebremeskel, who finished 3rd in 7:43.32, with surprising ease.
Lagat, at 38 twelve years Rupp’s senior, put up the most surprising result of the weekend, showing that he’s ready to take a shot at Rupp’s 2-mile indoor record at the Millrose Games in a few weeks by running 7:34.71 for the 3,000 at an indoor meet in Karlsruhe, Germany. It’s quite something that the American distance runner who’s the greatest threat to Rupp these days is 38.
Tirunesh Dibaba, meanwhile, lived up to her nickname by destroying the field in the 2-mile, running 9:13.17 and slicing over eight seconds from her time in the same race last year (9:21.60). Dibaba has run the Boston meet nine times in the last eleven years, winning her last seven races. Still only 27, she’ll be fun to watch as she makes her marathon debut in London on April 21.
Galen Rupp’s 3:50.92 mile at Boston University last weekend blew a hole in the Feb. 16 Wanamaker Mile — billed as Matt Centrowitz’s attack on Bernard Lagat’s meet record (3:52.87), it now seems like a race for second best, though it should still be a good one. Centrowitz set the Armory record in winning the event last year in 3:53.92.
Making Rupp’s mile doubly impressive is that though he had pacers, he didn’t have competition and ran the last quarter solo. That won’t be the case this weekend when Rupp races Ethiopians Dejen Gebremeskel (12:46.81 in the 5000) and Hagos Gebhriwet (12:47.53 in the 5000) in the 3000 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Rupp is 26 years old, Gebremeskel 23, and Gebhriwet just 18.