Jim Walmsley, one of the world’s best ultrarunners, ran his marathon debut at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials. On Saturday, Walmsley finished in 22nd and crossed the line in 2:15:05.
A year ago, we looked at Walmsley’s training as the Houston Half-Marathon approached. At Houston he nailed a 1:04:00, exactly the time he needed (down to the second) to qualify for the marathon trials. Following his 2019 Houston race, he went on to win a 50-mile race in Hong Kong and take 43 seconds off the 50-mile world record before shattering his own course record at Western States. There’s no doubt Walmsley is a tough racer, but this was his first time racing a road marathon, and he didn’t quite have the chops to make the 2020 Olympic team. With that said, he ran an extremely impressive debut, on a windy day and on a hilly course.
The runner sat in the chase group (which included Galen Rupp, the eventual winner) for the first half of the race. That group was on pace for a sub-2:10 marathon, am ambitious pace for most of the runners. Walmsley would fade, but not too much, averaging 5:10 miles and closing in 5:17. He finished ahead of some very impressive names like Jared Ward and Connor McMillan.
On Saturday, Rupp has made his fourth Olympic team, winning the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:09:20. 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.
Full results can be found here.