Scott Fauble Hunts Down a 2:08:52 PB to Finish as Top American at 2022 Boston Marathon
By Jonathan Gault
April 18, 2022
BOSTON — Less than 30 minutes into the 2022 Boston Marathon, Scott Fauble was faced with a choice. Fauble, along with 20+ other men, had hit the five-mile mark in Framingham in 23:56 – 2:05:30 marathon pace. Yet as the leaders entered mile 6, American CJ Albertson and Kenyan Bethwell Yegon decided they wanted to run faster still.
Fauble, running his third Boston, didn’t think that was a good idea. So as Albertson and Yegon and the rest of the top group ran their next mile in 4:40, Fauble made the decision to back off.
“I was like, that’s 2:06 pace,” Fauble said. “If these guys go run 2:06, more power to them. There’s nothing I can do about that.”
One of those men, Evans Chebet, would run 2:06:51 and wound up winning the race. But many more would be caught over the second half by Fauble, who moved up from 22nd at halfway to 7th at the finish. Fauble, wearing a plain black cap, black half-tights, and a splotchy-patterned blue and white singlet he purchased before the race from Lululemon, ran 2:08:52, shaving 17 seconds off his personal best (also from Boston in 2019). In the process, he earned top American honors for the second time in the last three Boston Marathons – a roaring success in his first marathon since leaving longtime sponsor HOKA ONE ONE and changing coaches from Ben Rosario to Joe Bosshard.
You don’t run 2:08 without talent, fitness, and hard work, but today Fauble flexed a different tool: his racing brain. Though he hit halfway in 64:26, 1:02 behind the lead pack of 20, his early decision to back off the pace meant that he was still full of run by the time he hit the big downhill entering Newton Lower Falls just past 15 miles. Having run with the chase pack until that point, Fauble knew it was time to get moving and used the downhill to launch his attack. He wound up with dead-even half marathon splits, 64:26 for the first half and 64:26 on the second, making him the only man in the top 30 at halfway who did not positive-split.
“I was able to go hunting those last 10 miles,” Fauble said.
Fauble’s in-race decisions were not the only hard choices he had to make since his last Boston appearance, a disappointing 2:13:47, 16th-place showing in October. Fauble had entered that race believing he was ready to run well, but after the poor result and no pbs in the marathon or half marathon for more than two years, he felt he was stagnating. Though he cared deeply for his coach, Ben Rosario, Fauble made the tough decision to walk away from his team, NAZ Elite, in search of something new.
In so doing, Fauble, 30, placed a significant bet on himself. In elite running, a shoe contract is a precious commodity, and Fauble had time remaining on his deal with HOKA. When he left the team, he chose to remove that security, living on his savings with the faith that his performances in 2022 would draw the interest of a new sponsor.
Fauble responded by running a half marathon pb of 61:11 in Houston in his first race post-HOKA, and after today, he should have some suitors. His 2:08:52 puts him #10 on the all-time, any course US marathon list; among active Americans, only Galen Rupp (2:06:07) and Leonard Korir (2:07:56) have run faster.
So what changed since October?
Obviously, the coaching was different. Whereas Rosario liked Fauble to lock in on marathon pace, he ran more of his workouts in this segment above and below goal pace. Bosshard’s aim was to simplify things, repeating the same set of four workouts for the final 10 weeks of his buildup and aiming above all to make sure Fauble felt fresh and healthy on the start line in Hopkinton.
“We wanted him going into this race a little undercooked,” Bosshard said.
The shoes made a difference as well. While Fauble said that his decision to leave NAZ Elite had nothing to do with footwear – and it’s worth remembering that he ran 2:09:09 in HOKAs three years ago (albeit with the help of significant tailwind) – HOKA’s marathon shoe has not been on par with other top brands, with a recent study conducted by Dustin P. Joubert and Garrett P. Jones at Stephen F. Austin State University concluding HOKA’s Rocket X had no advantage compared to a traditional, non-carbon plated marathon shoe. How much time the new super shoes are worth will likely never be pinned down perfectly, but it’s worth noting that, with every shoe on the market now available to him, Fauble opted for the Nike Alphaflys.
But placing today’s result solely on the changes Fauble has made over the past six months would disrespect the work he put in over his previous six years as a professional runner. Sometimes, you simply have a bad race, something easy to forget given Fauble’s consistency over the 26.2-mile distance since debuting with a 2:12:35 in Frankfurt in 2017.
“At every race, you’re not a conglomerate of your last training block,” Fauble said. “It’s two years, three years, four years of training. All the work I did with Ben Rosario is still in my legs.”
Fauble’s run today was yet another marathon success for Boulder-based Team Boss, whose 32-year-old coach Joe Bosshard has overseen four marathon buildups and produced a 5th-place finish at the 2020 Olympic Trials (Laura Thweatt), a runner-up showing at 2021 Chicago (Emma Bates), and now a 2:08, top American finish in Boston. But, like Fauble, Bosshard is careful not to get carried away.
“I think we have really durable, healthy athletes that really do know what they’re doing,” Bosshard said. “They’re kind of built for this event. I don’t think I’ve had to take someone that’s not made for it and make it work.”
Watching Fauble fly along the course today, that was clear. Fauble wasn’t just born to run the marathon, he was born to run this marathon. He’s now run 2:08:52 and 2:09:09 on the hallowed course; among Americans, only Ryan Hall has run two Boston Marathons that quickly.
Fauble, an hour after the race, was more content than exultant. His expression was not that of a man who had just run the race of his life, but one of a man who had a job to do and could leave satisfied with the knowledge that he had done that job as well as possible. A satisfaction that soon would be accompanied by a burrito and a Coors Light.
“It was a good day,” Fauble said.
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