After racing only once in 2019, Galen Rupp returned to competition on Saturday in Arizona, where he won the Mesa Half-Marathon in 1:01:19.
Rupp’s last result was a DNF at last October’s Chicago Marathon, the race which he won in 2018. On Saturday, however, he proved he is still very much a force to be reckoned with in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics. Rupp was almost a minute ahead of Matt Llano, whose 1:02:05 was good enough for second place, and Sam Chelanga crossed the line in 1:02:29 to complete an American podium sweep.
With this win, Rupp has silenced anyone who doubted his fitness as he prepares for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. The Trials are set for February 29 in Atlanta, and if Rupp can run like he did in Mesa, he will be a serious threat for the win and a trip to his fourth Olympic Games.
Ben Preisner of Milton, Ont., the only non-American in the top five, finished fourth place with a time of 1:04:16. He recently finished up his collegiate running career with the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, and he has since competed in several half-marathons.
Preisner debuted at the distance last June at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon, and won. He also won the 2019 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and in January he placed eighth at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon.
Tokyo-bound Canadian marathon champion Trevor Hofbauer also raced in Mesa on Saturday, finishing in 11th place in 1:07:42.