The Most Fun Facts From U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Men’s Athlete Bios

By Kyle Merber

January 19, 2024

You know when a new season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette comes out and you try to go a little bit beyond looks so you read their bios online to make your first impression about that person? We have marathon running’s equivalent. Race organizers for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials have put together bios for many of the participants for the Feb. 3 race. Beyond just some of the basics like birthdays, professions, career highlights, high school and personal bests, these bios provide a few more insights into the people who make up the majority of the field. A minority of them are actual professional runners with contracts. Many balance busy days with full-time jobs and family obligations.

Here are some of the best facts and tidbits from gleaning some of the men’s entries:

Sam ChelangaSam Chelanga

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

Sam Chelanga's Favorite Running Memory:

“The time I got lost in my friend Jared Ward's neighborhood at night and I was running around looking for help; I approached a car parked beside the road and it was the 2006 NCAA cross country champion Josh Rohatinsky!”

Brian Shrader's Greatest Accomplishment:

“It sounds lame but I’m probably most proud of just trying to be a generally positive person who helps people around me. I might have come up short with a lot of my goals but I hope I’ve been a good influence and built a good reputation with my peers along the way.”

It's not lame Brian.

Matt McDonaldMatt McDonald

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

Matt McDonald's Favorite Running Memory:

“Getting to know Maegan on runs”

This is so sweet! His partner Maegan Krifchin is also running the trials.

Kevin Lynch's Interesting Story:

“I've hardly ever been healthy during my running career. I've had a collapsed lung, dislocated SI joint, ruptured Baker's cyst, bursitis on my knee and hip, torn plantar, stress fracture, Morton's neuroma, torn ACL, SI joint dislocations, torn ligaments in my back, herniated disk and a pinched nerve in my back. All these came from just running. I never gave up and look at me now.”

Probably shouldn't let his insurance company read this…

Jerod Broadbooks' Interesting Story:

“My running story is not typical. I became a D II All-American when I placed 8th at the 2019 indoor championships in the men's mile, and after graduation I immediately took a 10-month break from running and got into weightlifting. I put on about 40 pounds of mostly muscle and improved my gym PRs to 300 pounds on the bench press and 405 pounds on the squat. Once Covid-19 shut down all gyms in March of 2020, I was forced to choose an alternative form of working out other than weightlifting. Naturally, I returned to running because it is what I knew best. In 2021, I ran a half marathon PR of 1:08. I had a full-time teaching job and was coaching XC and track at a local high school but toward the end of 2022, I began training a bit more seriously. The last thing I really wanted to do in my running career was run a marathon but since it was an Olympic year, I figured why not try to qualify for the Trials!? I ended up running 2:14:59 at CIM and placed 7th overall! This was my first marathon, and I was thrilled by the result. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to run at the Olympic Trials!”

No one else in this field has benched 300 lbs, right?

Jackson Neff's Family:

My wife, Tori Gerlach, is a professional runner competing primarily in the steeplechase. She is also my coach.

Need more wives coaching husbands in this sport!

Chad BeyerChad Beyer

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

Chad Beyer's Greatest Accomplishment:

“Completing the 2011 Giro d'Italia. Racing in a Grand Tour was one of my childhood dreams and I'm glad to have made it happen. Qualifying for the Olympic Trials would take a close second.”

Aren't we supposed to go from running to cycling, not the reverse?

Jesse Joseph's Greatest Accomplishment:

Getting married to my amazing and hot wife, Olivia Katbi, which will soon be topped by having a child with my amazing and hot wife, Olivia Katbi.

Hell yea!

Will Loevner's Interesting Story:

After I stopped running my sophomore year of college I decided to focus on mountain biking. In the next 4 years, I got second at Unbound XL 350, one of the biggest ultra gravel races in the world after breaking my hand at mile 200. I then won the 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championship of the Americas, and went on to get 3rd at the 24 Hour World Championship, completing 230 miles and 32,000 feet of climbing on rugged single track in the Italian Rivera. Three weeks later I rode my bike 3,400 miles from Canada to Mexico, off road through the Rockies. After this trip, I won a 50K ultra running race after 2 weeks of training and got the running bug again! I went on to win the Cleveland Marathon and then ran 2:16 for 4th at the Philadelphia Marathon to qualify for the Olympic Trails after being out of the sport the previous 4 years.

Mark Messmer's Interesting Story:

I have not taken a day off from running since Dec. 6, 2016. My minimum run length is 4 miles.

I don't recommend trying this.

Marcos Bailon's Interesting Story:

Getting to the Trials has not been easy. I've had to balance running, life and work to get here. I've had to sacrifice sleep to make this happen. My typical work day begins at 2:40 a.m. to squeeze in my run, strength train and do rehab exercises all before 5 a.m. I start work at 6 a.m. and am usually done by 4:30 p.m. At home, I try to spend as much quality time with my family as possible. I am usually in bed by 10 p.m. and sleep about 4.5 hours before I wake up and do it all over again!

How does he function let alone run 2:17?!

Alright, these dudes love eating eggs in the morning, drinking beer after racing, having lots of kids, being engineers, and taking many years off of running after college.

Kyle Merber

After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.