[leadin]How’d you do in your first marathon? For two-time Olympian Galen Rupp, the first time’s a charm.[/leadin]
One of the fastest runners alive, Galen Rupp dominated the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday in Los Angeles. Remarkably, it was his first time competing at the marathon distance. Rupp — a two-time Olympian in the 10,000 meters — beat 2004 Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi and became the first man since George Young in 1968 to win the U.S. trials without having ever competed in the 26.2 miles distance.
In 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 12 seconds, the 29-year-old’s time was the sixth-fastest in trials history. Not bad.
“In the beginning of the race, I was just trying to conserve as much of my energy as possible,” Rupp told the L.A. times. “I didn’t know what to expect those last few miles. Everybody I talked to told me it’s going to feel easy at the start. But it’s going to hit you at some point and it’s going to hit you like a ton of bricks.”
Can Rupp Make History?
Rupp plans to bring even more heat to the track. Going for three mega titles, he is signed up to compete in the 3,000-meters at the U.S. Indoor Championships (March 11-12) and the IAAF World Indoor Championships (March 17-20) — all within a five-week span.
He’s even considering going for a “double” in Rio. Could he be the next Emil Zatopek or Lasse Viren? In the 1952 Summer Olympics, Zatopek became the only person in history to take first place in the 5,000-meter, 10,000-meter, and marathon races. Later, at the 1976 Olympics, Lasse Viren won the 5,000-10,000 double and finished fifth in the marathon.
Rupp’s marathon win could be the gateway to a 21st-century triple threat. For Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Games Rupp is considering going for a double in the 10,000 and marathon, reported USA Today.
While fresh to the marathon distance, Rupp’s feat is very far from an off-the-couch race. His professional career includes two previous Summer Olympics 10,000 meter dashes including a 2012 silver medal win. Competing in two half marathons, he crossed the finish line of the 2011 New York City Half in 1 hour and 30 seconds, and finished last December’s Portland Holiday Half Marathon in 1:01:20. He is also the American record-holder for the fastest 10,000-meter race time at 26:44:36.
Following Rupp, Meb Keflezighi came in second and solidified his fourth Olympics appearance, becoming the oldest American marathoner at 40 years old. Jared Ward, 27, finished third. For the ladies, Amy Cragg took first followed by Desiree Linden and Shalane Flanagan.
–Don’t miss the action: 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics (August 5-August 21.)