The course was there and they came. Another 56 Americans hit the Olympic Trials Marathon Standards at yesterday’s California International Marathon. Greased Lightning We may have 700 qualifiers by the time the streets in Houston are swept clean in mid-January.
Good on the athletes. All of them. They trained up and took advantage of what was given. My comments regarding CIM have absolutely nothing to do with our US athletes (how could they?). Thirty five years of advocating for American athletes just gives me a different perspective than most. Two qualifiers yesterday (Zach Hine,7th in a pr 2:16:36) and Patrick Rizzo (19th 2:17:53) personal buds that have run at my Nebraska races. 6 runners were within :06 of the men’s standard, I hope they appeal and get in, good for the gander, good for the goose. One female missing by :09, I hope she successfully appeals as well.
One of the constants over the last 7 Olympiads, from an administrative level, is how to approach our Marathon Trials standards. I sat at that table for 13 years (1996-2009) and speak from direct experience. Softening the standards to get more athletes qualified was an initiative I always challenged. The thought was/is that having more people from Hometown USA would be good for our sport. Inspiring dreamers to think that they too might toe a Trials line. That part is good and makes a solid point. The obverse, we are trying to be competitive with the world, put bodies on the podium at the Olympic Games. Most of you too young to remember or too entitled to care but we only had 1 American male and 1 female in the 2000 Olympic Games Marathon. USA distance running at the very top has come a long way since.
Again, congratulations to everyone that has qualified for the Trials, no matter where. You’ve earned your spot on the line.
Should CIM be taken off the list of eligible courses, our work at Valley 7 Lakes Marathon, “America’s Marathon” becomes all the more important. V7LM meets all the criteria, IAAF, USOC, and USATF. That alone sets V7LM apart from CIM. The fact that it is the “Flattest Completely Closed Road Course in the World” will come to be a serious draw to American athletes. Americans, the whole point of the race after all. Not for the last time, Giddyup!