I’ve got my ear firmly placed on the ground and hear the thunder of many feet, vapor fly %s to be most accurate.  Pounding trails to the start line of this coming Sunday’s California International Marathon.  Hoping to qualify for the Big Show.  Bigger than any Olympic Trials field(s) ever.  Before Sunday’s hopeful hordes hit the highway the numbers look like this-

200 USA men have qualified for Saturday February 29th in Atlanta.  391 USA women have qualified.  Of the 182 men marathon qualifiers, 66 have been achieved at California International Marathon.  Of the 384 women qualifiers 117 were run at California International Marathon.  A total of 183 CIM qualifiers before this Sunday’s gun.

59 men have run faster than the 2:15:00 “A” standard.  From Galen Rupp’s 2:06:07 (Volkswagon Prague Marathon, 2019) to Fernando Cabada’s 2:15:00 (BMW Berlin Marathon, 2018).  123 “B” qualifiers have belts notched 2:19:00 or better.  Another 18 have sub 1:04 creds to make the “B” qualifier list.  LRC Racing’s Johnny Rutford (2:17:59, California International Marathon, 2018) will be representing locally.

78 women have run faster than the 2:37:00 “A” standard.  Jordan Hasay’s 2:20:57 at Chicago ’17 leads them all.  Lindy James takes the coveted final spot in 2:36:59 turned in at Chicago ’19.  306 “B” qualifiers have hit the 2:45:00 mark.  Another 7 have sub 1:13:00 digits to also be deemed “B” athletes.  LRC Racing’s Tessa Stoltenburg (2:41:15, Chicago ’19) representing the Good Life.  Tessa’s LRC mate Hayley Sutter was successful in her appeal.  Collapsing and crawling across the finish line in 2:45:07 at 2018 California International Marathon, the WLDR Executive Committee agreeing to adjust her time to the standard of 2:45:00.

Going to be a whole lot more qualifiers Sunday, and then some more at Houston mid-January.  My experience and perspective is this:  The Trials have outgrown themselves.  Nearly 600 athletes qualified already.  Competing for 6 spots.  Look for some major IAAF/USOC/USATF changes going into 2024.  Including tightening qualifying times and being more selective on which courses will be deemed eligible for legitimate performances.  Will this be California International’s last hurrah?