February 17, 2016
Nineteen miles into the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, three men were 15 seconds clear of the field: Meb Keflezighi, the former Boston and NYC Marathon champion and Olympic medalist, Galen Rupp, the American record holder at 10,000m and Olympic medalist, and Tyler Pennel.
Hard-core running fans were familiar with Pennel, the 2014 USA Marathon champ and a D-II 10,000m champion at Western State. The rest of America was not familiar with him until Saturday. Pennel’s 4:50 17th mile, which only Meb and Galen could cover, had broken up the race.
Pennel would start to slow during the 20th mile, falling behind Meb and Galen, and would ultimately be caught by Jared Ward (during mile 21) and Luke Puskedra (during mile 24). Pennel would hold on for 5th in 2:14:57.
Then Pennel gave an interview to LetsRun.com that likely will only get him more fans from the legion of runners who dream of having that big breakthrough. Pennel said his goal wasn’t just to get top three, he wanted to win the Olympic Trials. Full interview below.
On his thought process on taking the lead: “I started going down that downhill section we had been kind of surging… I felt good and I was relaxed so I kept running what was comfortable. When I got that break around the USC campus, that is when I kind of got a little excited and probably picked it up a little too early and I think that is what did me in.”
Asked whether, in retrospect, he should have waited to make his move: “I think so yeah. That would have been better. That might have put me third,” he said with a smile before adding, “I don’t know if I could have beaten Meb or Rupp but that’s definitely a what if.”
On if he was pleased with the result: “I didn’t come out here [to get third]… Yeah I wanted to get third but I wanted to win too. I came out there running to win. I went with my gut and it didn’t work out as well as I wanted.”
On coming close: “That’s definitely fuel for my fire. I went to a small D-II school (Western State). We were always the underdogs. People were like ‘Oh Western State, they’re D-II. They’re whatever.’ I was like ‘Screw them. We’re going to go out there and show them what’s up.'”
Pennel will now turn to the Olympic Track Trials and work on improving his 10k pr of 28:22.90. He said, “I have not figured it out on the track but I have six months to do that.”
Pennel’s splits. Full splits of men’s race here.
|13||10:18 (2 miles)|