Fall marathons lack U.S. Olympic women’s contenders

Desi Linden, Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher
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The news that 18-year-old Alana Hadley is the fastest American woman entered in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1 means that none of the 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s marathoners have announced they’re in a fall marathon ahead of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials on Feb. 13.

Though Hadley is qualified for the trials (live on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra), it appears she is too young to compete in the Olympic marathon.

London Olympic marathoners Shalane Flanagan, Desi Linden¬†and Kara Goucher have not announced fall marathons, which is no surprise with the Olympic trials on the horizon. More than half of the elite U.S. men’s marathoners are also sitting out fall marathons.

The top U.S. woman in a fall marathon appeared to be Amy Cragg, who finished 11th in the 2012 Olympic 10,000m. Cragg was entered in the Sept. 27 Berlin Marathon but is no longer in the field. She ran the U.S. 20km championships Sept. 7, placing 14th.*

Cragg ran 2:27:03 at the 2014 Chicago Marathon, ranking her third among U.S. women across all marathons since the start of 2013. Flanagan is first at 2:21:14, followed by Linden with a 2:23:54.

The next fastest Americans since the start of 2013 are Serena Burla, a cancer survivor who was the top U.S. finisher at the World Championships on Aug. 30 (10th), Goucher and Annie Bersagel, a Norway-residing lawyer.

Burla, Goucher and Bersagel are not among the elite fields of the major fall marathons (Berlin, Chicago, New York City).

The last U.S. woman to earn an Olympic marathon medal, Deena Kastor (2004 bronze), is to run the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 11 at age 42.

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*Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Amy Cragg was running the Berlin Marathon.