Aliphine Tuliamuk’s first place finish headlines strong performances;
three men and three women supported by RRCA finish in top ten.
Arlington, VA – On a hilly, challenging course whose difficulty was only exacerbated by gusting winds, 40 athletes (18 men, 22 women) who received a grant from the RRCA or attended RunPro Camp completed the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta. The group was led by Aliphine Tuliamuk, (’19 grant recipient) who won the women’s field, crossing the line in 2:27:23 and earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. As part of the grant, Tuliamuk will receive an additional $1,000 bonus from the RRCA for winning the race and to assist in her training in the lead up to Tokyo 2020.
Also securing a spot on Team USA was RRCA Hall of Famer Abdi Abdirahman ('12), who at 43 years old added another accolade to an already impressive career in qualifying for his fifth Olympics. On a course that played to his strength on hills, Abdirahman hung with the lead pack for most of the race before holding off a late push by Leonard Korir to claim third place in 2:10:03.
Joining Tuliamuk in the top ten on the women’s side were Stephanie Bruce (’09 Roads Scholar) who finished sixth, and Emma Bates (‘17 Roads Scholar, ‘19 grant recipient) who finished seventh. Three men who have received RRCA support also cracked the top-ten alongside Abri, headed by Augustus Maiyo (‘19 grant recipient) in fifth, Martin Hehir (‘16 Roads Scholar, ‘19 grant recipient) in sixth, and Colin Bennie (‘18 RunPro Camp) in ninth.
Since 1996, the RRCA has awarded grants through its Roads Scholar program
to assist American, post-collegiate, road runners who show great promise to develop into national and world class road running athletes. In 2015 and 2019, RRCA supplemented its financial support of promising American distance runners, handing out special grants to assist in the lead up to the Olympic Trials Marathon. Through both of these programs, the RRCA has distributed over $680,000 in support of elite athlete development.
Tuliamuk’s win on Saturday puts an exclamation point on the steady improvement in how RRCA affiliated athletes have performed at the Olympic Trials Marathon. In 2012 in Houston, 12 Roads Scholar grantees ran in the event. Four years later at the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon in Los Angeles, the RRCA saw 34 grantees run in the event, with top Roads Scholar finishers getting the 4th, 5th, and 6th place spots. This year, over 50 athletes who had received some level of support from the RRCA competed in Atlanta.
“In July 2019, the RRCA welcomed Aliphine as our professional athlete speaker at RunPro Camp,” explained Jean Knaack, RRCA executive director. “She’s an amazing athlete and the RRCA was proud to support her with a grant in September as she returned to the roads after recovering from injury in 2019. Watching her make the U.S Olympic Team was moment of great pride for the RRCA, and her win shines a spotlight on the importance of our programs that support athletes.”
Other RRCA-affiliated athletes finishing in the top 20 on the women’s side include Lindsay Flanagan (’19 elite grant) in 12th, Becky Wade (’15 elite grant) in 16th, and Bethany Sachtleben (’15 RunPro Camp, ’19 elite grant) in 18th. Overall, ten of the top 50 finishers in the field received some level of support from the RRCA.
On the men’s side, other top 20 finishers were Tyler Pennel (’13 Roads Scholar), who finished 11th, while Elkanah Kibet (’19 elite grant) and Bernard Lagat (’19 elite grant) finished 16th and 18th respectively. Overall, an impressive thirteen men who received some level of support from the RRCA finished within the top 50.
About RunPro Camp: The purpose of the RunPro Camp is to personally connect aspiring professional runners with the resources necessary to pursue a professional running career. The next RunPro Camp will be held July 16-18, 2020 in Arlington, VA. Application information can be found on RunPro.com and 15-20 athletes will be funded to attend this special orientation to professional running. Athletes interested in running distance events on the track and on the roads professionally are encourage to apply.