Jordan’s Methkal Abu Drais was the final runner to cross the line in the men’s marathon at the Olympics but you wouldn’t know it judging by his reaction. With a huge smile, Abu Drais accomplished what few others have: completing the Olympic marathon.
The 32-year-old was the final runner still competing in an Olympic athletics event as the men’s marathon was the concluding race of the Rio Games. The runner from Jordan has a lifetime best of 2:17:24. On Sunday, he ran 2:46:18 to place 140th of the 155 men who began the race. The IAAF qualifying time to gain entry to the Olympic marathon is 2:19:00 though some countries, Canada for example, have tougher qualifying standards.
“It wasn’t my best day perhaps,” Abu Drais told AFP. “But my presence at the Olympics among the best marathon runners in the world is an achievement for me.”
The Rio Games were the second Olympics for Abu Drais, who finished 56th in the marathon in London four years ago. The marathon runner was one of eight athletes representing the Arab nation in Rio. He was the only representative from Jordan who competed in athletics in Rio.
The Jordanian beat the 15 runners who did not finish the marathon on Sunday. Some faded because of the mid-race surge injected by the leaders while others had stomach issues including Kenya’s Wesley Korir who grabbed a teammate’s water bottle instead of his own.
The winner of the event was Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge who won the Olympic marathon in 2:08:44 ahead of Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa and American Galen Rupp. Canadians Eric Gillis finished in an incredible 10th and Reid Coolsaet in 23rd, both improving on their positions from London.
And while it was a race for gold for some of the top contenders, it was a race to finish for others. Ahead of Abu Drais, Mohammadjafar Moradi of Iran crawled across the line after falling to the ground due to cramping.