First-timer Galen Rupp wins US Olympic men's marathon trials in LA

- First-time marathoner Galen Rupp was the men's winner of Saturday's U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials, while 40-year-old Meb Keflezighi finished second, becoming the oldest male U.S. Olympic marathoner and the only one to make three Olympic marathon teams.

Amy Cragg was the women's winner in two hours, 28 minutes, 20 seconds -- 34 seconds ahead of Desiree Linden, who finished second in the trials for the second consecutive time. Shalane Flanagan finished third in 2:29:19 to earn the final spot on the U.S. women's Olympic marathon team.

Kara Goucher finished fourth after finishing third in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trial.

Linden passed Flanagan in the final mile. Flanagan was helped to a wheelchair after the race.

Rupp completed the 26-mile, 385-yard race in 2:11:12. Keflezighi was second in 2:12:20. Jared Ward finished third in 2:13, earning the final spot on the U.S. men's Olympic marathon team. Luke Puskedra was fourth in 2:14:12.

 


The 29-year-old Rupp is the first man to earn a spot on the U.S. men's Olympic team in his marathon debut since George Young in 1968. Rupp qualified for the race with a half-marathon time of 1:01:20.

To qualify for the race, men had to complete a marathon in or under 2:19 or a half-marathon in or under 1:05 between Aug. 1, 2013 and Jan. 17, 2016.

Women needed to complete a marathon in or under 2:45 or a half-marathon in or under 1:15 in the same time period.

Rupp was the silver medalist in the 10,000 meters in the 2012 Olympics.

In 2004, Keflezighi became the first American man to win an Olympic medal in the marathon since Frank Shorter in 1976. Keflezighi finished fourth in the 2012 Olympic marathon, the highest finish by an American since his third-place performance in 2004.

The race began at Gilbert Lindsay Plaza, in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center, then started a 2.2-mile loop which took runners north, mainly on Flower Street, to between Fifth and Sixth streets, then back south to
Gilbert Lindsay Plaza for the first of four runs on a six-mile loop.

The six-mile loop took the field south on Figueroa Street to USC, where it passed the Tommy Trojan statue.

The runners then headed into Exposition Park, passing the Rose Garden, California Science Center and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, before returning to Figueroa bound for 11th Street, in front of Staples Center.

The runners completed the six-mile loop four times. The race concluded at Gilbert Lindsay Plaza.

This was the first time the U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials were held in Los Angeles, which was awarded the race by USA Track & Field, the sport's national governing body, over Cincinnati and Houston in 2014.

The 2016 Summer Olympic marathons in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be run on a course with a loop being run multiple times and "we wanted to create something similar,'' said Tracey Russell, the CEO of Conqur Endurance Group, the trials' local organizing committee.

The course benefits runners "who are tactical on the turns'' and "know how to run the race tactically,'' Russell said.

The marathons in London's 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials, held in Houston, were also run on courses with a loop being run multiple times.

The race had a record purse of $600,000, with equal prize money for men and women. The top 10 finishers among both the men and women received prize money.

The winners each received $80,000, runners-up $65,000 and 10th-place finishers $7,000.

 

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