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By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
September 15, 2007

Josh Cox qualified for this third USA Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon today with a solo victory at the 11th United States Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Cox, 32, clocked a course record 2:19:29 to finish more than 11 minutes ahead of runner-up, Chuck Engle.  His performance was well under the "A" qualifying standard of 2:20:00 which will guarantee him an expenses-paid trip to the Trials in New York City on Nov. 3, just 49 days away.

At 24 Cox was one of the youngest qualifers for the 2000 Trials held in Pittsburgh.  He finished 18th in 2:22:30.  After that race he started to train under Italian marathon coach Dr. Gabriele Rosa in a special Fila program to discover marathon talent in the United States.  The relationship appeared to pay off quickly when Cox ran a surprising 2:13:55 personal best at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon in October, 2000.

But Cox would never run that fast again.  In two more appearances at both Boston and Chicago, he never ran faster than 2:15:01.  He seemed to be on the upswing in 2004 when he placed seventh at the USA Olympic Trials in 2:15:18, but he did not compete in any major races in either 2005 or 2006.  Today's race in Ohio was his first significant performance since competing in the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in New Delhi, India, in October 2004 (he finished 47th).

According to USA Track & Field, Cox is the 169th man to qualify for the Marathon Trials race in New York, and the 60th to make it under the "A" standard (the "B" standard is 2:22:00).  The top-3 finishers at the Trials will earn provisional berths on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.

*Message board thread on Cox

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