How Did the HOKA Athletes Do at the 2020 Marathon Trials?
by LetsRun.com (sponsored by HOKA ONE ONE)
March 12, 2020
The 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials are in the books. Prior to the Trials we brought to you the stories of the 17 HOKA ONE ONE Athletes Taking on the Marathon Trials. From the contenders, to the dreamers, the mountain runners, to the one-of-a-kind Jim Walmsley we highlighted their inspiring stories.
Now that the Trials are over it is time to check-in and see how the HOKA athletes did.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know that HOKA NAZ Elite pro Aliphine Tuliamuk won the Olympic Marathon Trials. It really doesn’t get any better than that. We have a special post-Trials podcast with Aliphine here, where she talks about her incredible day. “It was just a smooth sailing for me. Like, I don’t honestly think that I felt any pain or any discomfort up until mile 25,” she said.
The Trials went pretty well for the rest of the HOKA NAZ Elite women’s team. Coach Ben Rosario talked about the pie-in-the-sky goal of putting three-women on the Olympic Team (We also have a post-race podcast with Rosario here). And while that didn’t happen, the team came much closer than many expected. Tuliamuk won the Trials, Stephanie Bruce finished sixth, only 19 seconds away from the final Olympic birth, and her teammate Kellyn Taylor was 8th despite dealing with really bad shin splints in the final weeks before the race.
Of the non full-time professional women running for HOKA at the Trials, new HOKA Aggie Annie Dear was the first across the line in 80th in 2:42:55, followed closely by her teammate Liza Reichert in 86th in 2:43:18. Former Foot Locker champ Ashley Brasovan was 139th in 2:46 flat and HOKA Aggie Addi Zerrenner rounded out the HOKA team in 338th in 2:57:52.
|HOKA Women at the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials|
|Aliphine Tuliamuk||1||2:27:23||HOKA NAZ Elite|
|Stephanie Bruce||6||2:29:11||HOKA NAZ Elite|
|Kellyn Taylor||8||2:29:55||HOKA NAZ Elite|
|Annie Dear||80||2:42:55||HOKA Aggies|
|Liza Reichert||86||2:43:18||HOKA Aggies|
|Addi Zerrenner||338||2:57:52||HOKA Aggies|
But the results don’t tell the full story. Zerrenner was the last HOKA women’s finisher, but she overcame injuries to just get on the start line and called it “one of the greatest days of my life.” She wrote:
10 days before the trials, I was unsure of whether to line up due to 2 stress reactions last August, sciatica that put me on crutches in November, and a misplaced talus bone causing several nerve impingements and tendinosis December-January. With 5 weeks of runs under my belt, I realized that my love for what I do is greater than my ego and the embarrassment I might face with a time way off of what I know I’m capable of. A few days before, I decided to have the goal to run the first 8 mile loop and say, “I participated in the 2020 US Olympic Trials.” Although it wasn’t pretty, I ran the whole damn thing and finished the hardest course I’ve ever run. It was truly one of the greatest days of my life and I can’t express how grateful I am. The course, crowd, and level of support was something I’ve never experienced, and I can’t thank Atlanta, my coach, family, and HOKA enough.
Meanwhile Reichert did a great job of capturing what the scene was like in Atlanta. She said:
“The 2020 Trials was very memorable, and a great run for me. The crowds along Peachtree were deafening at times, and the Atlanta Track club has really raised the bar in terms of race organization and logistics. The course certainly lived up to the hype, and I sincerely hope it is the most challenging marathon course I’ll ever run competitively! Regarding my performance, I’m most proud of my execution. I had a plan and I saw it out – easier said than done in the marathon. I gave myself the opportunity to have an amazing day, while also not jeopardizing having a good day. I finished 86th and within a minute of my PR. I’m still hungry for more, but given the conditions and being a championship race, I feel great about my result.”
The HOKA men didn’t have the same success as the women, but the performances were very solid with three finishers in the top 25. Scott Fauble led the HOKA runners with a 2:12:39 12th place finish. His teammate Scott Smith was 19th in 2:14:49 and Jim Walmsley’s marathon debut did not end with an Olympic team birth but a very solid 2:15:05 22nd place finish. Former USA Marathon champ Sergio Reyes led the HOKA Aggies in 44th in 2:18:14, Rajpaul Pannu was next in 2:20:55 and his teammate Swarnjit Boyal close behind in 2:21:29. Ultra marathoner Tyler Andrews, whose story of going from being an 18 minute 5k runner to the Olympic Trials inspired many, was 82nd in 2:22:51, mountain runner David Fuentes 139th in 2:30:11 and HOKA employee Brandon Johnson toughed it out across the line in 2:56:10.
|HOKA Men at the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials|
|Scott Fauble||12||2:12:39||HOKA NAZ Elite|
|Scott Smith||19||2:14:49||HOKA NAZ Elite|
|Jim Walsmely||22||2:15:05||HOKA NAZ Elite|
|Sergio Reyes||44||2:18:14||HOKA Aggies|
|Rajpaul Pannu||63||2:20:55||HOKA Aggies|
|Swarnjit Boyal||70||2:21:29||HOKA Aggies|
|Sid Vauhgn||DNF||HOKA NAZ Elite|
Reyes at age 38 is still learning things about the marathon and like everyone else was full of praise for the crew in Atlanta. He wrote:
“One thing I’ve learned is how difficult it is to get everything to go as planned when it needs to be just right. After a spill on ice 3 weeks out and cracked rib #6 had me down and out, one could see how thrilled I was to be able to make it to the starting line relatively healthy. So, I readjusted my expectations and ran my own conservative race. The carnage left behind in the wake of the massive front pack and its surges had me picking off runners and kept me motivated. While nowhere near my best race, on that course and on that day, I was very content with the performance and glad I finished on my feet. Experience-wise, the weekend was the most organized and hospitable of the last 4 Olympic Trials Marathons I’ve been fortunate to be a part of. Hats off to the Atlanta Track Club on a job well done.”
David Fuentes ran his second Olympic Marathon Trials and he’s still trying to figure out the marathon (he qualified with a half marathon time). He said, “While I didn’t have the race I wanted, it was still an incredible experience that I won’t ever forget! Maybe one of these days I will figure the marathon out, or maybe I won’t. Either way I will keep moving forward and keep toeing the line.”
Swarnjit Boyal who went from being a walk-on to a conference champion in college, left his first Trials wanting a little more. He said, “In terms of the Trials, I felt it was ok for my first one. It was a very tough course with windy conditions and it was hard getting into a rhythm as I got caught in no mans land a few times but overall I’ve taken a lot out of the experience and am hungrier then ever to continue to improve and be the best I can be. I would like to thank my Hoka Aggies family, the Hoka ONE ONE family, especially Mike McManus and Teressa Bradford for all they do, and my friends and family for all the love and continued support they have given.”
Tyler Andrews’ experience showed running is just a part of life. He dealt with “life-altering” family event right before the Trials and wasn’t sure he would be able to run. He toed the line with a different mindset. “I ran the kind of race I wanted to. I passed nearly 100 runners from mile 5 to the finish and was passed by 2. I had a fantastic weekend, reuniting w/ old friends, making some new ones, and celebrating w/ much loved family (literal and figurative).”
The Olympic Marathon Trials remind us of all the love, greatness, and heartache in our sport. Unfortunately, running fans will have to wait 4 years until the next one.
Thanks to all the HOKA Athletes for sharing their stories on LetsRun.com.