Marathon debutant clocks 2:11:12 in Los Angeles to secure his spot for Rio, while Amy Cragg wins women’s race in 2:28:20
Galen Rupp breezed to victory on his marathon debut in Los Angeles on Saturday to book his place on the US team for the Rio Olympics.
The London 2012 10,000m silver medallist clocked 2:11:12 in his first race over 26.2 miles and will be joined in Rio by Meb Keflezighi and Jared Ward, who ran respective times of 2:12:20 and 2:13:00.
The women’s race was won by Amy Cragg in 2:28:20 and she will represent the US in Rio along with Desiree Linden and Shalane Flanagan who ran 2:28:54 and 2:29:19 respectively.
Racing in warm temperatures, Rupp had formed part of a group that surged ahead at around the 25km mark before he and Keflezighi broke away a couple of miles later. Rupp went on to secure victory by over a minute, becoming the second man to win the US trials on his marathon debut after George Young in 1968.
With his runner-up spot, 40-year-old Keflezighi secured an Olympic team place for the fourth time.
Rupp is now eyeing an Olympic marathon and 10,000m double, which the 29-year-old says is “a real possibility”.
“This is a tremendous honour. To be able to represent your country in an Olympic Games, I am thrilled that I was able to cross the line first,” Rupp was quoted by USA Track & Field as having said at the post-race press conference.
“It was definitely difficult out there. It was a tough race, given all the conditions.”
On the Olympic double, the Alberto Salazar-coached athlete added: “I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, and everything leading up to this was all about the marathon. I think that the double, with the way the schedule is, is a real possibility.
“The 10,000m still might be my better event. I don’t know. I think that the double in Rio is certainly possible. There’s a lot of time between the 10km and the marathon.”
Keflezighi, who turns 41 in May and claimed Olympic marathon silver in 2004, said: “I feel blessed to be able to do this. I think the race was tough for everybody. I had a few issues going on at about 15 miles, (I had) cramps and I didn’t know if I was going to make the team. But I think at about 14-15 miles, I just got there and was like ‘make the team, make the team.'”
Cragg went from fourth at the trials four years ago to winner after leading the race with her training partner Flanagan from around 10 miles. Flanagan struggled in the last couple of miles and while Linden closed the gap, she held on to finish third and make her fourth US Olympic team.
Finishing fourth, Kara Goucher missed out on an Olympic place by just over a minute.
“It was absolutely a war of attrition,” USA Track & Field quoted Linden as saying after the race. “Amy was so impressive and Shalane is tough as nails. Late in the race, I didn’t even know if I was going to be on the team. I was cramping hard but you fight for every step.”