USATF Will Honor Order of Finish at US Olympic Marathon Trials For Those Men Who Have Broken 2:11:30 On An Eligible Course

The Trials in Orlando will be full of drama as the top 3 finishers will likely end up in Paris

On Sunday, we learned that USATF had published its selection criteria for picking the 2024 US Olympic marathon team. The way we and many others read the document, it appeared that USATF wouldn’t honor the order of finish at the 2024 US Olympics Marathon Trials for picking the third US team member if the US men only had two guaranteed Olympics spots at the Trials, which is likely to be the case.

The way the document was written, it appeared that if the US eventually gets a third men’s entrant (the US women are already guaranteed three and we expect the US to get a third entrant in May when the final 20% are awarded based on the Road To Paris list), that the third spot would go to the marathoner with the highest ranking on the Road to Paris list — not the highest finisher at the Trials. We believed this to be the case as the selection criteria stated:

In the case that USATF is not able to select a full team of Qualified Athletes from the Selection Event…the U.S. will fill any unfilled quota positions with Qualified Athletes based on their rank order on the Road to Paris rank list following the close of the qualification period on May 5, 2024.

So we reached out to USATF for clarification.

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USATF got back to us today and told us that they will indeed honor the order of finish at the Trials for all people who have run under 2:11:30 on an eligible course (Boston and CIM do not count as they are net downhill). They offered no explanation as to why the document’s wording appears to state otherwise.

Here is the Q&A we had over email with USATF.

LRC: Given that Clayton Young and Conner Mantz are the only US marathoners in top 64 of the Road to Paris list, if the US does not have three qualified athletes at the conclusion of the Trials, would the remaining spots be determined based on the athlete’s rank on the Road to Paris list and not the result of the Trials?

USATF: The top three who have broken 2:11:30 within the qualifying window (which is from November 6, 2022 up to and including the Trials) will make the team IF we have three quota spots according the Road to Paris Ranking published on January 30, 2024. Unless something happens between now and the Road to Paris Ranking publish date to move people up the ranking list, we will not know if we have a third quota spot until the last Marathon Road to Paris Ranking list comes out May 8, 2024. 

The quota spots will go to the rank order finish at the trials as long as they have run (under) 2:11:30 in the qualifying window.

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If we have three quota spots, but only two eligible athletes finish the race, we would revert to Road to Paris Ranking at the end of the qualification window (by 5/5/24) to fill the final quota spot.

LRC: Right now the US already has two qualified men’s athletes, Clayton Young and Conner Mantz. So if the US doesn’t get another qualified athlete by the end of the Trials, the third person on the team would be whoever is the top US athlete in the Road to Paris list on 5/5/24 — and not the 3rd placer at the Trials (even if that person has run under 2:11:30 and could conceivably be subbed in)?

USATF: If we have three quota spots at the time of the trials, and the top 3 athletes have run under 2:11:30 within the qualification window or at the trials, then the top 3 athletes make the team. Example, if the top 2 have run under 2:11:30 but 3rd place has not then we go to the next place finisher at the trials that has run under 2:11:30 in the qualification window.  

If we only get a third quota spot when the last Marathon Road to Paris Ranking list comes out on May 8, 2024, that third quota spot will go to the highest place finisher at the trials that has run under 2:11:30 within the qualification window listed above. Place finish at the trials for athletes who have run under 2:11:30 within the qualification window will determine the athletes.

So there you have it. The order of finish will be honored at the Trials, assuming you’ve run under 2:11:30.

12/6 UPDATE: On Wednesday, USATF removed its 2024 Olympic marathon selection policy from its website with the comment “REVISIONS PENDING.” USATF director of long distance running programs Amy Begley told LetsRun that USATF acknowledged the initial published selection policy left room for misinterpretation and is being revised to make it clearer. She reiterated that the team will be determined by place finish at the Trials, with the top three athletes who have run under 2:11:30 by the conclusion of the Trials being named to the Olympic team.


It’s important that USATF issue another order of clarification and state that the order of finish will be followed period — regardless of time. If that athlete isn’t eligible, then go to the next athlete and see if they are eligible.

Why is this important? Well, consider the following scenario.

For Paris 2024 qualifying purposes, American Scott Fauble — who is the top-ranked American on the Road to Paris Marathon Rankings not in the top 64 — has not run under 2:11:30 within the qualifying window. He did run 2:09:44 in Boston in April, but Boston is too much of a net downhill according to World Athletics.

So what happens if it’s warm at the Trials and Fauble wins the Trials or is top 3 in, say, 2:11:31? And then in May the US unlocks its third spot due to Fauble’s world rank. According to USATF’s email, Fauble would not be named to the US Olympic team even though he won the Trials and the US would got its third spot due to him. That’s crazy.

12/6 UPDATE: We asked Begley about this scenario but she was not able to provide an answer yet. 

For the record, here are the 17 US men’s marathoners who have run under 2:11:30 on an eligible course during the qualifying window, which opened on November 6, 2022.

1 2:07:47 Conner Mantz
2 2:08:00 Clayton Young
3 2:08:48 Galen Rupp
4 2:08:50 Samuel Chelanga
5 2:09:31 Leonard Korir
6 2:09:40 Futsum Zienasellassie
7 2:09:46 Brian Shrader
8 2:10:16 Teshome Mekonen
9 2:10:34 Abbabiya Simbassa
10 2:10:34 Matt McDonald
11 2:10:37 Joel Reichow
12 2:10:43 Elkanah Kibet
13 2:10:45 Nathan Martin
14 2:11:21 Zachery Panning
15 2:11:22 Andrew Colley
16 2:11:26 Josh Izewski
17 2:11:26 Kevin Salvano

*Scott Fauble, Matt McDonald, CJ Albertson, Nicolas Montanez all did it in Boston this year but it doesn’t count as it’s too point to point and too downhill.

Talk about these developments on our messageboard: *MB: Update: USATF WILL honor order of finish at Trials for those who have broken 2:11:30.

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