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Defending Champions Keflezighi and Flanagan Set to Run 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials
Two of the Nation’s Fastest Marathoners Set Their Sights on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
LOS ANGELES (July 28, 2016) – LA MARATHON LLC and USA Track & Field today jointly announced that defending champions Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan are the first athletes to officially declare their intention to compete in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s and Women’s Marathon, which will take place on Saturday, February 13, 2016 in Los Angeles. The pair of Olympic medalists are currently the fastest men’s and women’s qualifiers for the United States.
Keflezighi and Flanagan are the first of more than 300 athletes currently qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s and Women’s Marathon to officially enter the competition field. The 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials will deliver a record $600,000 prize purse, distributed among the top 10 finishers in both the male and female categories. The top three finishers from each race who meet Olympic time standards will be nominated to represent the U.S. in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“Meb and Shalane have raised the bar of American marathoning and inspired a nation,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “I cannot think of better athletes to kick off what will be an exciting 200 days leading up to the Olympic Marathon Trials. We are looking forward to spectacular races in Los Angeles and further elevating the profile of U.S. marathoners, on one of the world’s most visible stages.”
“Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan are two of the most highly-decorated runners in U.S. history, and confirming their intention to compete in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s and Women’s Marathon elevates the level of competition,” said Tracey Russell, Chief Executive of LA MARATHON, LLC. “We are honored to host the race that will determine the top three male and female marathoners who will represent the U.S. at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
Keflezighi, 40, of Mammoth Lakes, California, is one of the most recognized runners in the world. The three-time Olympian earned a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Games and placed fourth at the 2012 London Games. He earned his spot on the 2012 Olympic Team at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, TX where he set a personal best, crossing the finish line in 2:09:08. He has since recorded a new personal best-time of 2:08:37 with his impressive 2014 Boston Marathon victory. If Keflezighi makes the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, he will become the oldest U.S. Olympic marathon runner of all time.
“It is with great excitement that I officially announce my plan to compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials in Los Angeles,” said Meb Keflezighi. “As a product of San Diego, and UCLA, I am looking forward to competing in front of family and friends. It would be a great honor to make my fourth Olympic Team, but I know the competition will be very strong.”
Flanagan, 34, of Portland, Oregon, is also a three-time Olympian. She won a bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Games and placed 10th in the marathon at the 2012 London Games. At the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, Texas, Flanagan set an Olympic Trials record of 2:25:38 in the second marathon of her career. The two-time national marathon champion (2010, 2012) will compete in the 10,000m at the World Championships in Beijing in August 2015.
“For most athletes, pulling on that red, white and blue singlet is what it’s all about,” said Shalane Flanagan. “There are few things I want more than to make my fourth Olympic Team at the 2016 Games in Rio, and it all starts in Los Angeles on February 13. It’s a good omen that Team USA’s quest for gold begins in the Golden State!”
In order to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials, athletes must meet the minimum “B” standard of 2:18:00 for men and 2:43:00 for women from August 1, 2013 to January 17, 2016, on a USATF certified course in an event sanctioned by USATF or a member federation of the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Start times and specifics on the courses for both the men’s and women’s races will be determined in the coming months. The Trials will take place on Saturday, February 13, 2016, the day before the annual LA Marathon, setting the stage for the city’s biggest running week and providing LA Marathon participants and fans alike with a unique opportunity to be part of the Olympic movement.
For more information on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s and Women’s Marathon and the LA Marathon, please visit www.lamarathon.com.