The 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials are being held this weekend in Houston, TX, the day before the 2012 Houston Marathon. It promises to be one of the most exciting races in years. This is the first time that both the men’s and women’s race will be held in the same city, on the same day! The 2008 Olympic Trials were in different cities, four months apart – the men’s race was in Central Park (day before 2007 NYC Marathon in November) and the women’s race was in Boston (day before 2008 Boston Marathon in April)
(Note: Unfortunately, due to Internet rights, there will be NO live streaming of this event. NBC will be airing a 2-hour national tape-delay Saturday afternoon, Jan 14 -> check your local listings for more information. Additionally, Runner’s World will be providing coverage of both races in near-real time with live text coverage – follow this link for more information. You can also follow tweets using the hashtag #Houston2012)
Date/Time: Saturday, Jan 14th. The men begin at 9am EST (8am in Houston) and the women start 15 min later (9:15 EST)
Weather Forecast: Perfect racing weather!! Temperatures should be in the mid-30s at race start and gradually increase to mid-40s by the end of the race (Complete forecast can be found here)
Number of Runners: 158 men have qualified for the Olympic Trials; 225 women (Note: not all who have qualifying times will be running). Runner’s world estimates approximately 100 men should toe the line (many men qualified in shorter distance races and are not expected to participate) while nearly all the females who qualified will likely race (most women qualified with marathon times). For a complete list of all those who qualified, click here.
Qualifying Times: Men – sub-2:19; women – sub-2:46. Runners can also qualify with half-marathon (sub-1:05 and sub-1:15) or 10k (sub-28:30 and sub-33:00) times. *To put these times into perspective for you: The next time you are on the treadmill, set it to either 9.5 mph (6:18 pace) or 11.3 mph (5:18 pace) and (try to) run a mile -> these are the paces that females and males, respectively, have to maintain for 26.2 miles (and that’s just qualify for the trials)!!
Who moves forward: The top 3 male and female runners will represent the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics in London this summer.
Women’s Favorites: Five of the most well-known female marathon runners are all running: Desiree Davila, Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Magdalena Lewy Boulet, and Deena Kastor. Davila has run two of the three fastest American times the last two years, including a 2nd-place finish of 2:22:38 at Boston in 2011 (she lost by 2 seconds). Goucher was fifth in that race in a PR (by over a minute) of 2:24: 52, just 6 1/2 months after giving birth. After a recent coaching change, Goucher and Flanagan have been training together in preparation for this race. While Flanagan‘s time of 2:28: 40 is not as speedy as the other two, it was good enough for a 2nd-place finish for the tough course at the 2010 NYC Marathon. Kastor, the only American women to ever run sub-2:20, is running; however, her age and recent marathon times (qualifying time of 2:36:20) do not make her a favorite. Boulet, a member of the 2008 US Olympic Team (before she had to pull out due to injury) and holding the third fastest qualifying time (2:26:22), is also considered a contender. The women’s field is being touted as the most competitive ever – to read the 10 Women to Watch, click here.
Men’s Favorites: Three males are considered to be heavy favorites – Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, and Dathan Ritzenhein. Up until three days ago, Galen Rupp, the American 10,000-meter record holder, was set to run the race as well; however, he withdrew his name this past Saturday in order to concentrate on the 10,000-meter race for London (full story can be found here). Hall is expected to be a shoe-in for the race – he is the fastest American in history and has a qualifying time more than 4 minutes faster than the next runner. Keflezighi, the 2009 NYC Marathon Champion, made a great show at the NYC Marathon this past November after battling injuries the past few years. He has the 2nd-fastest qualifying time (2:09:13). Ritzenhein was ninth in the 2008 Olympic Games and is expected to make a strong show on Saturday. To read the 11 Men to Watch, click here.
Websites to check out:
Who are YOUR favorites? Who do you think will win?
Is anyone going to be watching the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston?? Let us know so we can follow your tweets!!
To follow the coverage on Twitter, use the hashtag #Houston2012