Rory Linkletter After Running 2:08:01 At Sevilla Marathon, Hits Olympic Qualifying Mark

The CITIUS MAG Podcast

February 27, 2024

"It's just one of those things – you go out there, you find your group, and you just lock in. It can be boring, but I feel like because of how much was on the line for me, I was so engaged with it that it never at any point felt boring."

Rory Linkletter is a Canadian marathoner for PUMA. He just ran 2:08:01 at the Seville Marathon to get under the Olympic qualifying standard. He is in a good position to get selected by Athletics Canada for Paris. Canadian record holder Cam Levins has already been selected for the team and assuming no one else runs faster than Rory in the next two months, he’ll be set to go to his first Olympics.

Rory was a standout runner at BYU and then turned professional in 2019. He spent some time with HOKA NAZ Elite before choosing to leave the team in 2022 and has been working with Ryan Hall in Flagstaff, Arizona. In this episode, you’ll hear all about why the training has worked so well. He shares a bit about Ryan’s coaching and training philosophy. Plus, I try to start some trash talk between Rory and Conner Mantz or Clayton Young – his former teammates.

Host: Chris Chavez | ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@chris_j_chavez on Instagram⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

Guest: Rory Linkletter | ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@rory_linkletter on Instagram⁠⁠⁠

Rory LinkletterRory Linkletter

Johnny Zhang / @jzsnapz

Time Stamps:

  • 4:15 - Initial thoughts after running the marathon Olympic standard.
  • 7:56 - Breaking down his race at the Seville Marathon.
  • 9:15 - Thoughts on time trial racing vs. championship style racing.
  • 10:25 - Walking us through different stages of his race.
  • 12:29 - Sharing about the last few miles of the race.
  • 13:45 - Having his family at the race + his race strategy with Ryan Hall.
  • 15:43 - Perspective on developing speed in marathon training.
  • 17:37 - Insights on Ed Eyestone and BYU’s cross country training.
  • 20:30 - Why he chose Ryan Hall as his coach + Hall’s coaching philosophy.
  • 23:40 - More on his training group with Hall + teammates.
  • 27:46 - Managing effort in workouts + thoughts on recovery.
  • 29:31 - The Canadian marathon scene.
  • 31:48 - Waiting on being officially selected for the Canadian Olympic team.
  • 33:26 - Thoughts on the marathon course at the Paris Olympics.
  • 35:45 - Legendary hill workout in Flagstaff.
  • 37:33 - Goals for the Olympics.
  • 39:18 - Thoughts on his competitors.
  • 41:25 - How he thinks Conner Mantz and Clayton Young will perform at the Olympics.
  • 43:54 - His rivalry with Clayton Young.
  • 46:24 - The most nervous he’s been before a race + the most intimidating competitor he’s raced against.
  • 47:17 - The race that made him believe in himself as an athlete.
  • 47:55 - The race he would re-run if he could go back in time.
  • 49:52 - The best advice a coach has ever given him.

The following interview excerpt has been edited lightly for clarity. You can listen to the full interview with Rory Linkletter on the CITIUS MAG Podcast – available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your shows.

CITIUS MAG: From an athlete standpoint, a time trial can sometimes be a little mindless. It's less pressure than having to compete for places. Had this race been similar to the Olympic Trials format, I'm sure it would have been a bit more stressful. But for you, just looking at your watch and checking splits, was it relaxing in a sense?

Rory Linkletter: I don't think time trialing is my natural preferred state of running. I think I'm more of a racer than I am a time trialer. I actually historically don't do my best at those types of races. It worked out well because it was a good day and I was fit enough for it. I had a great build going into it. It's just one of those things – you go out there, you find your group, and you just lock in. It can be boring, but I feel like because of how much was on the line for me, I was so engaged with it that it never at any point felt boring. It was honestly the fastest a marathon has gone by in my own perspective due to the fact that I was so dialed into my splits and where I was at in my group.

CITIUS MAG: What’s the best advice any coach has given you? Let's leave the people with some wisdom. Who is it and what was the advice?

Rory Linkletter: Coach Eyestone has a lot of fun cliches. The one that sticks with all of his athletes is: consistent competence equals eventual excellence. He would call it C squared equals E squared. The principle is if you just consistently are competent at what you do, eventually you'll be excellent at what you do. I think that's true for my career. I'm finally starting to see some of the fruits of the labors, but I feel like I've been putting in high level work for a really long time and have been thinking to myself, ‘I'm better than my times or my performances indicate and it just hasn't come together yet.’ I'm sure every distance runner thinks the same thing. But eventually it's starting to click and I'm excited about what that could mean.

How Rory thinks the Olympic Marathon will play out + his goals heading into the Olympics:

Rory Linkletter: There's going to be a lot of attrition. It depends on how the race plays out. I need to get lucky. I look at it as everybody that thinks that they should medal is going to be running for that. I'm going to just see what my fitness is and then try to run the best marathon I can on that day… There's two ways of looking at it: You can run like CJ Albertson and be a hero and try to be the front runner as long as you can. People will obviously admire that.

Or you can try to be really reflective on your current fitness and the course and try to run the race to the best of your ability and not worry about what other people are doing. I'm probably going to do the latter just because I think that gives me the best chance to hit my goals, which is to place. I want to be top ten at the Olympics. I think that would be a huge accomplishment. I think that if I do it perfectly and if I get lucky, that's really realistic. So that's where my head is at.

On the North American marathoning scene:

Rory Linkletter: I watched the Olympic Trials and was like, ‘Man, I wish I was American just so I could have tried to beat those guys.’ I was mad. Not because (Conner Mantz and Clayton Young) made the team, but because I was like, ‘I wish I was out there competing with those guys.’ I feel like I missed out on such a cool race. So I'm really looking forward to (competing against them). Obviously, I view myself in the sport within the Canadian and North American running scene in general. I've kind of grouped those together. I want to be a top dog in North America, not just in Canada.

I would love to be one of the best North American marathoners. And then once I climb that mountain, I would love to try to be one of the best in the world. I have to take it step by step. Where I'm at right now, I feel like I'm close to the mountaintop of North American marathoning. Those guys are kind of the top dogs right now, at least with the hype and with what they've done recently. But I didn't get a chance to run that race. I felt like with the fitness I was in, I was going to be ready for something pretty cool.

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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.

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