And they're off!
The long road to the 2016 Rio Olympics is officially underway as hundreds of American men and women duked it out against their rivals on Saturday, Feb. 13 in Los Angeles to represent the United States in this year's Olympic's marathon competition.
Out of 455 runners, only six (three male, three female) made the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team and here they are:
The two well-established favorites Shalane Flanagan and Desiree Linden unsurprisingly clinched their spots to toe the starting line in Rio, while 32-year-old Amy Cragg took the top spot after dominating the race..
At the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials, Cragg finished first in the 10,000 meter and fourth place in the marathon but was able to gain redemption this year while fending off Flanagan in the last few miles to book her fourth Olympic appearance.
The highlight of the day was when Cragg, being the amazing teammate she is, hung with Flanagan as she slipped from first to third place, breaking down in the Los Angeles heat only leaving her side during the final mile as Linden was closing in.
Galen Rupp, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the 10000 meters, who only two weeks earlier declared his intention to run his debut marathon in the Trials proved this marathon thing isn't so difficult after all while posting an impressive 2:11:13 to lead the field. Rupp hopes to also attempt to qualify in the 10000 meters on the track later this year.
Meb Keflezighi’s clinches his third Olympic marathon birth, as he took silver in 2004 and finished fourth in 2012. At 40-years-old, he’ll be the oldest Olympic marathoner ever.
Lastly, Ward, 27, who won the 2015 U.S. Marathon championship, will be making his first trip to the Olympics.