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.

MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Meb Keflezighi faces tough international field at NYC Marathon

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

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein
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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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