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Galen Rupp dominates U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Rupp, Jake Riley and Abdi Abdirahman are the 2020 American marathon team

U.S. Olympic team

Galen Rupp has made his fourth Olympic team, winning the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:09:20. It was a windy day in Atlanta for the trials, and an extremely dramatic race. Second place went to first-time Olympic qualifier Jake Riley, and third to five-time Olympic qualifier masters runner Abdi Abdirahman. At 43, Abdirahman is also the oldest American ever to qualify for the Olympic marathon.

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Rupp’s had an extremely challenging year. His former coach, Alberto Salazar, was banned from the sport and subsequently, his training group was shut down by Nike. He’s now training under NAU coach Mike Smith. On top of this, Rupp’s also dealt with significant injuries that resulted in surgery in 2018. On Saturday, Rupp took 15 seconds out of the then leader Brian Shrader between mile 14 and mile 15, to take control of the race before breaking from the field at mile 20 and speeding up from there.

This was a wild men’s race: 10 miles in, there were 50 men on pace to break 2:10.

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The men’s race started out with a bold move from Luke Puskedra, a 2:10 marathoner, who put in a surge in the first two miles. The group quickly brought him back. All the expected runners where there. Then, Shrader took the lead, running away from the pack to open a 44 second gap. Shrader is a former NAU runner, where he was mainly a steeplerchaser. Through the half, Shrader maintained a 47-second lead on the pack, but would drop out just three miles later.

The unlikely men’s team

Abdi Abdirahman ran an extremely impressive race. Abdirahman was an outside shot at the team, his personal best of 2:08:56 dating from 2006. But he ran a promising 2:11:34 in New York in 2019 to put himself back on the map. The runner was relentless in the trials race–every time he was passed, he just kept coming back for more.

Jacob Riley, who ran 2:10 in Chicago 2019, made a huge push for second. Riley was nowhere to be seen for almost the entire race, but with four miles to go, made an appearance among the leaders. Riley is unsponsored. All three men who made the Olympic team were wearing Nike Alphaflys.

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