We are now 4 days out from the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon hosted by the Atlanta Track Club in Atlanta, GA this Saturday, February 29th! We are honored to send two athletes to the race – Courtney Olsen and Kennedy Rufener – and were so close to sending three other women who just missed in 2:45:09 (Kristen Schafer), 2:45:45 (Amber Morrison) & 2:47 (Allison Dorr).
On February 29th the race will be broadcast live on NBC across the country. Broadcast will begin at 12:00 pm EST. The men’s race will begin at 12:08 pm EST and the women’s race will begin at 12:20 pm EST. You can also track runners at this LINK.
Here’s some stats on our athletes:
Courtney Olsen (Bib# 62)
- 32 y/o
- Covered in tats
- Loves margaritas and queso dip
- Has been training for an opportunity to race the Olympic Trials Marathon since 2014, having narrowly missed the time for the 2016 OT
- Coming in seeded 62nd in 2:36:17 (CIM ’18)
- Sponsor/s – Tracksmith, BDP, Nuun
- Goals include: beating her seed, not tripping over a short person, competing instead of anally checking her watch or running for time, earning her vacation thereafter, not instilling ischemic colitis (but if that happens, so be it), just making herself proud
Kennedy Rufener (Bib# 383)
- 24 y/o
- Covered in tats
- Loves a bean burrito from Taco Bell (#vegan)
- Has been training for the OT since graduating college, ran an OTQ in her debut marathon at CIM ’19 and is coached by Mike Johnson (WOU Head XC and T&F coach)
- Coming in seeded 383rd in 2:44:17 (CIM ’19)
- Sponsor/s – Tracksmith, BDP, Nuun
- Goals include: Being happy with her race, understanding that it’s not a PR course, wanting to compete. With an injury setback occurring between CIM and the Olympic Trials, her ultimate goal is feeling satisfied when she crosses the finish line
Let’s talk about the course. According to Atlanta Track Club, the course will highlight Atlanta’s Olympic history and legacy – “…the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon will take athletes on a tour of some of Atlanta’s most important attractions and neighborhoods. Competitors will begin their race in front of Centennial Olympic Park – the crown jewel of the 1996 Atlanta Games – and head down Marietta Street toward Peachtree. They will proceed three miles north on Peachtree until their pass the intersection of Peachtree & West Peachtree, then turn around and head back down Peachtree in the opposite direction, loop through Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood and return to downtown. The runners will complete this loop 3 times before heading on a 2.2 mile final loop that runs under the Rings and Torch structure from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, goes by the Georgia Capitol building and passes by the sports stadiums that house the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta United FC. They will then reach the welcome sight of the finish line inside Centennial Olympic Park.”
On top of being rich in history it will be rich in hills. Near 1,400 ft in elevation gain to be exact. This is an extreme difference to that of the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, which consisted of flat loops in LA, albeit, it came with its own struggles. This is hundreds more feet of gain than the famed Boston Marathon or New York City Marathon courses. It has been said that it comes across like a cross country course (always either up or down, and never flat), and that it should be approached as if it’s a 28-30 mile race.
Let’s talk about the sheer magnitude of female empowerment that is the 2020 Olympic Trials! In the end 511 women ran an OTQ. 463 registered to race, and since a few have dropped due to injury or illness. This is a major jump from the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon which saw about 246 female qualifiers, and the largest field size in US history. On one hand you have a camp of people who are up in arms about it, about the famed friendliness of CIM, or about the Nike revolution regarding enhanced/technologically evolved footwear (Nike Zoom Fly > 4% > Next% > Alphafly (protos worn by pros, and soon to be released to the public)) or about how “easy” the women’s OTQ standard is. On the other hand, you have people like Lindsay Crouse at NY Times, Alison Wade at Fast Women newsletter, several pieces written at Runner’s World, Sarah Ibbetson’s blog Running Down the Dream project of 2:45:01 & Beyond, everything Oiselle is doing, and on who are writing about the excitement of it, the power of the pack, women celebrating other women and on.
It’s clear there’s a movement. Given, by-and-large, these supportive voices are women’s voices, we are of the opinion that the size of the women’s field doesn’t hurt the sport, it fuels it. Why can’t we consider it something akin to the 1970’s running boom? Why does it have to be caveated with, “…but the shoes…,” “…but that course…,” “…but the standard is easy…?” It’s likely the standard will shave down some for 2024, especially seeing as World Athletics (formerly IAAF) changed the world standards from 2:45 to 2:29:30 (and for the men down from 2:19 to 2:11:30). *Note that the US standards for Olympic Trial Qualification cannot be faster than the World standard, but can match it if desired. The sport is changing, and there’s a lot to know, but here’s an article about how the US Olympic Marathon Trials was granted gold label status this time around, so that the contenders who might not have run that time in the Olympic qualifying window, wouldn’t need to try to force the time at the Trials – U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Granted Gold Label Status to End Standard Confusion. Tangent. All we want to say is F-yass to womxn! Our team is inspired by them, proud of them, and loving training beside them. Yeah, the field is likely going to be somewhat of a clusterfuck with so many talented women in a radius ability of around 20 minutes, but, think about how many more bars and people’s homes will have NBC on live, cheering at the screen, for that bountiful bevy!
Curious about what it takes to make the Olympic Team (top 3 men & women at the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon)? Check out the Selection Procedures HERE!
Check out athlete bios HERE!
Many thanks to those that supported our athletes as they built up to the Olympic Trials – to Tracksmith for sponsoring in the OTQ Program, to LindenxTwo for the coffee supply, to Nuun, to Fairhaven Runners, to Brad Jones Rolfing, to Roll Recovery for sending out athletes the R4, to GU & Maurten for sending out bottles and gels, and to their friends, family and teammates!
Good luck to our teammates, to the Washington State qualifiers and to all qualifiers! We can’t wait to follow along Saturday!