Galen Rupp is the first American to make the Olympic marathon team in his debut at the distance since 1968.
Meb Keflezighi has become the oldest U.S. Olympic runner of all time, according to USA Track and Field.
The Olympic medalists Rupp, 29, and Keflezighi, 40, finished first and second in the Olympic marathon trials in Los Angeles on Saturday. Jared Ward was third and earned the final place on the Olympic team, his first.
In the women’s race, Amy Cragg, Desi Linden and Shalane Flanagan were the top three, all returning to the Olympics, with Flanagan collapsing at the finish line. Full recap here.
Rupp and Keflezighi broke away on their own around the 20th mile. Rupp then dropped Keflezighi in the 23rd mile and won by about 1:08, clocking 2:11:12. He broke the finishing tape with a fist pump.
Full results are here.
“It was a bit of a change running the marathon, but there’s no bigger honor than being able to represent your country at the Olympics,” Rupp told Lewis Johnson on NBC.
Rupp, the 2012 Olympic 10,000m silver medalist, and Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist, are the only U.S. men to earn Olympic track and field medals in events longer than 1500m since 1984.
Dathan Ritzenhein, a three-time Olympian and a pre-race favorite with Keflezighi and Rupp, dropped out of the race around mile 20 of 26.2 total in the hottest U.S. Olympic marathon trials of all time. The temperature at the men’s start at 10:06 a.m. local time was 66 degrees.
The Rio Olympic marathon will be on Aug. 21, the final day of the Games.
Rupp has said he prefers the 10,000m and might not race the marathon at the Olympics. If he doesn’t, the fourth-place trials finisher, Luke Puskedra, will move onto the team.
“I think [Rupp] is a 2:05 [marathon] guy, someday,” Rupp’s coach, three-time New York City Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, told media after Saturday’s race.
Rupp could contest two races in Rio, the 10,000m (Aug. 13 final) and the marathon, or the 10,000m and the 5000m (Aug. 20). Rupp finished seventh in the 5000m in London.
“I would say that the 10k is still my primary focus,” said Rupp, who would have to make the Olympic track team at those trials in Eugene, Ore., from July 1-10, in a USATF interview published Jan. 28. “Really, it just comes down to what I think I have a better chance in as a second event, whether that’s the 5k or the marathon.”
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