U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Start Time Changed To 10 A.M. After Athletes Voice Concerns

By Chris Chavez

November 15, 2023

USA Track and Field announced its decision to move up the start time for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials to 10 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2024 in Orlando.

Here’s what you need to know:

– The U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, which serves as the selection race for the American marathon team for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, were set to be held at noon ET in Orlando, Florida on Feb. 3, 2024.

– In September, 84 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers and notable American distance runners sent a letter to USATF CEO Max Siegel raising concerns over the noon start time. USATF and the Athletes Advisory Committee met to discuss potential changes.

– In October, the Athletes Advisory Committee sent a letter to Jason Siegel, the president and CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission. In the letter, the athletes noted that USATF and NBC, which will carry the race broadcast, have agreed to a 10 a.m. start time for the race but GO Sports has been unwilling to make the change. The letter, which was shared on Twitter by Kyle Merber, noted that GO Sports was anticipating “a combination of unexplained projected damages, fines and waived rights fees totaling $700,000” if the race was moved. Track Shack Events’ Jon and Betsy Hughes responded with their own letter to the USATF Athletes Advisory Committee.

– USATF announced the following on Nov. 15:

“The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), USA Track & Field (USATF) and Greater Orlando Sports Commission (GO Sports) are pleased to announce an important update regarding the upcoming U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon. In collaboration and consultation with feedback from the athletes regarding concerns around weather conditions, it has been agreed that the start time for the event will be moved to 10:00 a.m. ET.

The decision to bring forward the start time to 10:00 a.m. ET was made following extensive meetings to address the concerns of athletes. The USOPC, USATF and GO Sports worked closely together to consult all stakeholders to ensure the best solution for all involved. After extensive scenario planning and multiple conversations with partners, a collective decision to bring the start time forward was made. The earlier start time will help provide an improved experience for athletes, spectators, and event staff, ensuring the comfort and safety of all involved. Additionally, robust contingency plans will be in place for further adjustments should projected weather conditions make it necessary.”

– The average temperature at 10 a.m. for Orlando on Feb. 3 within the past decade is 63.7 degrees. Within the last five years, the warmest year was 72 degrees in 2022 and the coolest was 45 degrees in 2021.

For a complete timeline of the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials start time debacle, read here.

Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.