The country’s best distance runners to race on multiloop, down- town LA course for six coveted Team USA berths to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Record $600,000 Trials prize purse and unprecedented live TV broadcast on NBC.
By Ryan Lamppa
Every four years the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (OMT) are held to determine coveted Team USA berths. On Saturday, Feb. 13, the one-of-a-kind pressure-filled event will be contested by the country’s best distance runners racing over a multi-loop course in downtown Los Angeles. Winners will find themselves on a plane to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in August.
LA Marathon LLC will host the event that is returning to the West Coast for the first time since Olympia, WA hosted the inaugural
U.S. women’s OMT in 1984. This Olympic qualifying event will be the men’s 13th edition and the women’s ninth. The next day (Valen- tine’s Day, Feb. 14), the Trials organizers will also present the 31st Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon with 25,000+ runners.
The expected OMT 2016 field of 300+ marathoners includes defending 2012 Trials champions Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan, plus 2008 winners Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor. Flanagan could be- come the first woman to defend her Trials title. Just as in Houston in 2012, there will be separate race starts for men and women (morning times TBA).
Past OMTs have produced some of the biggest upsets in Trials history, such as surprise winners Mark Conover (1988), Jenny Spangler (1996), and Chris Clark (2000).
Olympic hopefuls will also be vying for a record Trials prize purse of $600,000 ($300,000 per gender) that goes 10 deep with $80,000 for each race champion (also the largest amount awarded to the wom- en’s winner).
In addition, for the first time, the Trials will be broadcast live on NBC (1:00 p.m. EST), and NBC Sports Live Extra will air the event via its streaming app, available on desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs.
Olympic Marathon Trials “A” qualifying standards for event funding support are 2:15:00 (men) and 2:37:00 (women). Men’s and women’s “B” qualifying standards for entry for the marathon are 2:19:00 and 2:45:00, respectively, and for the half marathon 1:05:00 and 1:15:00, respectively.
The 2016 OMT course has been designed to be runner- and spectator-friendly and should produce some of the fastest times in the event’s history. The multi-loop course starts and finishes near the LA Convention Center. The Olympic hopefuls will begin with a 2.2-mile loop that heads north into downtown Los Angeles and then covers four 6-mile loops south of the start/finish area. Major landmarks along the course include the Staples Center, LA Live, and the historic Memorial Coliseum, site of the track & field competition and opening and closing ceremonies for the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.
The 2016 Rio Olympic Marathons are scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 14 (women) and Sunday, Aug. 21 (men). The Sambódromo, legendary home of the Rio Carnival parade, will host the 2016 Summer Games marathon. The Olympic competitors will begin the race by running down the Rio Carnival Samba runway, and then running the streets of Rio and returning to the Sambódromo for the finish.
Visit www.latrials2016.com for more information.