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Galen Rupp to run surprise half-marathon on Friday

Rupp and Japanese marathon record-holder Suguru Osako will headline the Eugene, Ore., race

Galen Rupp Photo by: Stephanie Yao Long | The Oregonian/OregonLive

On Wednesday evening, the Eugene Marathon teased a half-marathon matchup between American Olympic medallist Galen Rupp and Japanese marathon record-holder Suguru Osako. A report from The Oregonian confirmed that the pair will be racing at an undisclosed location near Eugene, Ore., on Friday for a fast 21.1K along with several other unnamed athletes. The race is not labelled as an official record attempt, but Eugene Marathon organizers said the course is certified, meaning if Rupp or Osako do end up running record times, they’ll be ratifiable. 

Rupp hasn’t raced since he won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta in February in 2:09:20. He only raced once this year before trials, at the Sprouts Half Marathon in Arizona. He won that race, too, posting an impressive 1:01:19. This time was far off his 59:47 PB, though, which he ran in Italy in 2018. The American half-marathon record isn’t much faster than Rupp’s best, and it currently belongs to Ryan Hall at 59:43. Rupp isn’t officially going after Hall’s mark, but if he can beat it, it will be his second national record, joining his 10,000m best of 26:44.36. 

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Other than running to a fourth-place finish at this year’s Tokyo Marathon (where he ran his Japanese record of 2:05:29), Osako hasn’t raced much in 2020. Based in Portland, he ran three track races in the summer, and none farther than 3,000m. Like Rupp, he will be looking to test his fitness over a longer run after an extended hiatus from road racing. In addition to his marathon best, Osako owns the national 3,000m and 5,000m records, and if he can break 60 minutes on Friday, he’ll add the Japanese half-marathon record to his resume, which currently sits at 1:00:00. 

Although the course is reportedly fast, Osako’s coach, Pete Julian, wouldn’t say whether he thought either athlete would break a record on Friday. “Hey, man, 13.1 miles is a long way to go,” he said. “It’s almost foolish to say we’re targeting something because I know nothing about the course. My assumption is if the weather is nice, it’s warm enough and it’s not windy, and you have two guys like that, running around an hour for a half marathon is certainly within their capabilities.”

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Along with the unknown location, organizers haven’t even disclosed when the race will start, but at some point on Friday, the running community might hear news of new American or Japanese records.