Biggest Winners Of The U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials That Didn’t Run

By Kyle Merber

February 7, 2024

The City of Orlando – There was a lot of controversy around the bidding process and the start time, but ultimately, the venue was a great host and the event ran smoothly. With round trip plane tickets available for less than $100 from many major cities and affordable hotels, this was an easy weekend trip for fans. The course was well-designed for spectating, even if crossing the street was an issue. If – as was the case at the 2020 Trials – this is the last time the whole US distance running community is together before next month’s pandemic, then these memories will power us through isolation.

Peacock – It’s like someone has incepted the idea of rewatching Jurassic World into my brain. This was a huge win for the paid subscription service to use the paid subscription service to advertise the paid subscription service to people who are already subscribed to the paid subscription service.

Running Books – Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor received free endorsements for their books from Clayton Young and Emily Sisson in post-race comments, respectively. Both said these books directly impacted their performances. My own life hasn’t been nearly as inspiring, but I often wonder if I wrote a fictional tale about a runner in 2024, a dark, gritty reboot of Once A Runner, for instance, how bad would it have to be to not sell? Runners love running books, and while there are some great ones, there still aren’t enough bad ones out there to truly saturate the market.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – 10% of $80,000 and $65,000! 

Sara HallSara Hall

Johnny Zhang / @jzsnapz

Masters Running – The 40-year-olds, Sara Hall (2:26:06) and Elkanah Kibet (2:10:02), both broke the masters American record. And don’t forget Des Linden, 40, was 11th, and Roberta Groner, 46, was 26th. But perhaps the best performance was by Abdi Abdirahman.

Mill City Running – I didn’t really know anyone associated with the Minneapolis-based running store heading into the weekend, but after their Friday night party and meeting a dozen or so people from the city, I just need to find an excuse to visit. One of the coolest parts of the Trials is that there are so many events popping up and each one is super welcoming. For Orlando residents it must have been very confusing why they did not have to pay for a drink all weekend. 

Maegan Krifchin – Is 18 miles at 7:14 pace good if you are seven months pregnant? Unbelievable. 

Fourth Place – It’s hard not to position the Olympic Trials as an all or nothing situation. For three people it’s the best day of their lives and in theory, those who narrowly missed out on making the team should be devastated, right? Well not for the unsponsored Jess Tonn McClain, who was very pleased with the day! McClain finished just 15 seconds out of third after being 72 seconds back in 8th at mile 22. Elkanah Kibet was similarly pleasant! (I also should note that he has been incredibly consistent in his career, having run nine marathons under 2:12:35.).

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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.