Galen Rupp Enters The 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials
4 Quick Thoughts - 2 If He Does Race, 2 If He Doesn't Race
December 12, 2011
American 10,000 meter record holder Galen Rupp has surprised the running world by entering the 2012 US Olympic Trials.
While many distance aficionados view the 26.2 miles as Rupp's ideal distance, Rupp's entry comes as a surprise as both he and his coach Alberto Salazar had in the past indicated they wanted to wait for Rupp to make his marathon debut. Rupp, who ran 26:48.00 in his last race in Brussels on September 16th, does seem to have great 26.2 potential as in addition to his 26:48.00 10,000 personal best, he also ran 60:30 in the only half-marathon of his life in New York in March (#5 all time in US history on any course).
Below we give you a few quick thoughts on Rupp's entry into the marathon trials.
1. Just because Rupp is entered, it doesn't mean he'll necessarily race the 26.2 distance. We can think of at least two scenarios as to why Rupp would enter the Trials but not race them.
1. He might pace the Alberto Salazar coached Dathan Ritzenhein/Run part of the race as a workout
Training for the marathon has proven to help a lot of people with their overall fitness for a wide range of talents from women's marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe to LetsRun.com co-founder Weldon Johnson (who went from 29:50 in the 10,000 to 28:06 after picking up the marathon). Rupp is training with Dathan Ritzenhein as Ritz gets ready for the Trials. Having Galen set the pace for Ritz would certainly be something that would help Ritz.
Taking this thought a little farther, we also we could imagine a scenario where if Rupp's training has gone very well, that he might be told, "Galen, we want you to pace Ritz for xxx number of miles but if you feel good and want to finish, go ahead." This way he gets to run the race with little pressure.
2. Just to Mess With the Minds of the Non Alberto Athletes Entered in the Trials
There definitely is a rivalry that exists between the Jerry Schumacher coached group in Portland and the Alberto Salazar coached group in Portland. The rivalry is so deep that in the spring at the Pre Classic, Salazar had Rupp warm-up and even go as far as get his spikes out to give the impression to Chris Solinsky that Rupp would be attempting to break Solinsky's 10,000 record at the time. Solinsky then entered the 10,000m at USATFs and did not run it. While Schumacher's "A" guys of Matt Tegenkamp and Chris Solinsky are not running the marathon trials, some of his lesser guys are (Tim Nelson and Brent Vaughn).
Having to go into the race wondering what Galen will do is wasted energy for an athlete. That could only benefit Dathan Ritzenhein.
That being said, Rupp's entry certainly must have every legitimate marathon threat to be sweating bullets. Because Rupp very well could have entered the race with the full intent of racing the full 26.2 distance.
If Rupp dose race the full 26.2 distance, we have the following two thoughts.
3) One big name won't make the team - Rupp, Ritz, Meb or ................... Hall
We know Rupp hasn't run a marathon before but he's a 26:48 10,000 runner who ran a 60:30 in his only half-marathon. Nearly every expert believes that ultimately the marathon is Rupp's distance so he'll likely be very good at it. What does that mean? Well it means that one of the following people won't make the 2012 US Olympic marathon team - Rupp, Ritz, Meb or Hall.
4) While we think Rupp should move to the marathon now, we're stunned that he actually did it.
After Rupp's 26:48.00 in September , we were talking amongst ourselves about how we thought Rupp should run the 2012 US Olympic marathon trials as we certainly think training for the marathon benefits one greatly as a distance runner. Rupp was a guy who said in 2010 that the one workout he didn't like was steady tempos and to us running is all about steady tempos, and it's impossible to train for the marathon without steady tempos.
Thus training for the 2012 Marathon Trials would be ideal for Rupp in two ways. One, it would result in Rupp doing lots of steady tempos and secondly, the timing works perfectly as it would fill a big void in Rupp's competition schedule. The marathon trials take place some 4 months after the 26:48 but almost six months before the track trials.
So why are we stunned?
Because if Rupp waited to say New York the Fall to debut in the marathon, his appearance fee would be huge ($250,000??) and because Alberto Salazar always seemed to indicate he thought Rupp should wait to run a marathon. As a Caucasian 26:48 performer with blonde hair, Rupp's appearance will still probably be very large down the road but if things go poorly in Houston, he might be hurting himself financially.
But the more we think about this, we don't think Alberto would let Rupp race if there was even the slightest chance that he thought things would go poorly.
Conclusion: There are no guarantees in the marathon but if Rupp does race we'd be very surprised if he doesn't make the team.
More: *MB: Galen Rupp in Marathon Trials