There are only a handful of males who you should be excited for when it comes to their race times ... Kipchoge, Bekele, Kipsang, and Adola. If we are only going to judge marathoners based on time, then all else are irrelevant - or in a race designed to produce the fastest time - will be in the "also ran" category.
With Tim - the celebration is about a guy who, in a race with similar talent, went out and crushed them all. He ran his race and in the process of winning the national championship, set a massive personal best for himself. He has been an excellent competitor throughout his career.
The same can be said for Galen Rupp - who has never run faster than his time in Chicago - 2:09:20. Yet, we celebrate his marathoning achievements and call him an excellent competitor. In a field with like talent (Rio), he won the bronze medal .
Then he came in 2nd in Boston and won Chicago - despite the fact that he has never run faster than this runner from Norway.
There is more to marathoning than just a fast time.