Why one man’s 2015 year makes him one of the most interesting athletes to toe the line at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. 

Zablocki winning the Puerto Rico Marathon in 2:26:26. Photo: lepelican-journal.com

Zablocki winning the Puerto Rico Marathon in 2:26:26. Photo: lepelican-journal.com

The U.S. Olympic Trials are less than a week out now. For months and years, athletes have been training hard to run the L.A. race hoping to get a chance to represent their country in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

As the date of the trials nears, running fans reside beyond the U.S. as well, are keeping an eye on the talented runners who will line up on Feb. 13. One athlete to watch: 27-year-old Chris Zablocki.

The runner who formerly ran for the Dartmouth team in his college days is beyond just an “athlete to watch”– Letsrun.com describes him as “the most interesting person” in the running world in their in-depth profile of Zablocki and there’s no doubt as to why. This young athlete has already accumulated quite the resume during his running career so far. Going forward, he’s likely to be one the U.S.’s much-talked about marathon runners.

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For starters, let’s look at the end of Zablocki’s 2014 all the way to the end of 2015: full knowing that he would be headed to L.A. on Feb. 13, 2016 on his route to land himself a spot in Rio, Zablocki signed up for, and ran, 13 marathons. The Letsrun profile puts this into perspective by comparing his marathon schedule to other high-caliber runners prepping for the Trials– they usually put one marathon on the calendar 12 months out.

But it’s not just about the numbers. Not only did Zablocki rack up the 42.2K races, he did well. Exceptionally well.

In his 13 marathons ran, the runner’s overall average time was 2:21:32. His slowest was 2:27:41. His fastest: 2:15:39 (also a new PB for him). The list goes on. Zablocki broke 2:21 in the marathon seven times over the course of the year. Compare him again to other runners of his ability level– other U.S. athletes went under 2:21 three times over the span of a year. Of this batch of marathons, he won five and placed in the top three nine times. One was run on Canadian soil– he ran in Quebec City in August.

He’s fast. He’s fast and also able to bounce back from  a heavy race schedule jut as quickly. And cramming a schedule full of marathons isn’t new to him either. There was his 2013 year where in February to March, he ran three marathons. Two of which he won, and in the other, he placed second. he also set a PB then too.

Currently, Zablocki is coached by Allison Benton who told Letrun.com that the athlete is very much a one-ff who isn’t bogged down by rules, guidelines and regulations in his training. Recovery, she said, isn’t a much-used word in his vocabulary. Normally, that’s something seasoned marathoners would scorn– with Zablocki’s last year though, no one could really point to a performance where he should have done something differently.

So what’s going to happen at the Olympic Trials over the weekend? We’ll just have to see but our eyes are certainly on Zablocki– he’s one to watch.

Zablocki’s Races: Nov. 23 to Dec. 2015. 

11/23/2014 Philadelphia, 2:19:20
12/28/2014 Jacksonville, 2:27:41
1/18/2015 Carlsbad, 2:24:53
2/8/2015 Tallahassee, 2:20:31
3/7/2015 Albany, 2:18:57
3/22/2015 Puerto Rico, 2:26:25
4/20/2015 Boston, 2:20:35
6/20/2015 Duluth, 2:17:26 (PB)
8/30/2015 Quebec City, 2:25:35
9/27/2015 Nottingham, 2:24:22
10/4/2015 Jersey, 2:20:06
10/11/2015 Poznan, 2:18:20
11/15/2015 Valencia, 2:15:39 (PB)


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