Galen Rupp
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Galen Rupp ‘open’ to Olympic marathon trials

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Galen Rupp likes to tell the story of the first time the Olympics came into his view, as a sophomore at Portland’s Central Catholic High School in 2001 or 2002.

He remembers his coach, three-time New York City Marathon champion Alberto Salazar, sitting him down after his season and laying out his career.

“We’re gonna take a really long-term approach; we’re not gonna give you too much too early,” Rupp said Salazar told him. “You know, physically, you probably are — we hope you make the Olympics in 2008, but physically you’re gonna be ready to go in ’12 and most likely ’16. That’s going to be your best shot to win.”

Rupp proved Salazar right by making the 2008 Olympic team at age 22 and then, in 2012, becoming the first U.S. man to earn an Olympic 10,000m medal in 48 years, a silver behind training partner and FIFA video-game rival Mo Farah.

And now, in what could be Rupp’s last Olympics with his best shot to win gold, he could take on a new challenge. The marathon.

Rupp decided to race a half marathon for the first time since 2011 in Portland on Sunday and easily prevailed ahead of costumed runners (a man dressed as an elf, another in the bunny suit from “A Christmas Story,” among others).

He clocked 1:01:20, comfortably under the 1:05:00 needed to qualify for the Olympic marathon trials Feb. 13 in Los Angeles. Whether Rupp toes the line of a 26.2-mile race for the first time there is still in question.

“Galen wants to keep all his options open,” Salazar said, according to Runner’s World. “No commitments one way or the other.”

Rupp previously signed up for the 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon trials — also, reportedly, because he wanted to keep his options open — with a qualifying time from the March 2011 New York half marathon (1:00:30).

But Rupp withdrew one week before the Jan. 14, 2012, marathon trials.

Many have wondered when Rupp, now 29, would make his marathon debut. And how he would fare.

He’s long been best at the 10,000m, making the Beijing 2008 team in the second-longest race on the Olympic program, breaking the American record in 2011 (and again in 2014) and taking that 2012 Olympic silver medal.

Rupp’s 1:01:20 on Sunday ranks second among U.S. men for 2015, behind U.S. champion Diego Estrada, who is expected to make his 26.2-mile debut at the marathon trials.

The Olympic marathon trials favorite is Meb Keflezighi, a 40-year-old who owns an Olympic silver medal and Boston and New York marathon victories. The other top contender, three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, has dealt with a hip injury this fall and didn’t contest a relay race with other men’s and women’s marathon hopefuls Sunday.

The top three at the trials will make the Rio Olympic team.

Rupp could race Feb. 13, finish top three, and later withdraw from the Olympic marathon team.

He could also make the Olympic team in the 10,000m at the track trials in July and race both distances in Rio, eight days apart.

“It’s a doable double at the Olympics,” Rupp said four years ago of the London Games, according to the Oregonian. “It would be hard, but they’re a week apart.”

Rupp said last month that he might take more risks in training in an Olympic year.

“We always have two peaks a year, so we’ll have one in the winter,” he said. “We always try to make sure that they’re calculated [risks] because it’s easy to get carried away, trying to do so much more just because it’s Olympics, but I think that’s where you really run into problems with getting hurt because you try to overdo it too much.”

Rupp’s goal is Olympic gold, and his best shot to do so may still be in the 10,000m.

Rupp followed the Olympic 10,000m silver by finishing fourth at the 2013 World Championships and fifth at this past summer’s Worlds. Farah won all of those races and appears an overwhelming favorite to repeat in Rio.

“I was really disappointed to finish fifth,” Rupp said last month of his 27:08.91 time in Beijing on Aug. 22. “If that had been six years ago, I would’ve broken the American record in 90-degree heat, basically. So I ran really, really solidly, I thought, but sometimes you can’t control what place you get.”

He’s focused offseason training on paying more attention to his diet, yoga and upper-body stretches.

“Say I had gotten second or third, gotten my medal in Beijing, I would’ve maybe been a little disappointed, but we would’ve been, hey, we’re still right there,” Rupp said. “Maybe we wouldn’t have found all those other things [to work on].”

VIDEO: Rupp, Ashton Eaton part of Nike Oregon ‘Animal House’ tribute

Justin Gatlin, Noah Lyles headline U.S. roster for IAAF World Relays

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Justin Gatlin and Noah Lyles haven’t been in the same race since the 2016 Olympic Trials, but they could exchange a baton at the IAAF World Relays next month.

Gatlin, the reigning world 100m champion, and Lyles, undefeated at 200m outdoors in this Olympic cycle, headline the U.S. roster at World Relays in Yokohama, Japan, from May 11-12.

It’s the fourth edition of the meet that was held in the Bahamas in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Competition includes men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m, a mixed-gender 4x400m (making its Olympic debut in 2020), a shuttle hurdle relay and a 2x2x400m.

The U.S. has topped the medal standings at every World Relays, most memorably beating a Usain Bolt-anchored Jamaican 4x100m in 2015.

This U.S. team also includes world 100m champion Tori Bowie, U.S. 100m champion Aleia Hobbs and Lyles’ younger brother, Josephus.

The full U.S. roster:

Devon Allen
Joanna Atkina
Olivia Baker
Jessica Beard
Chris Belcher
Jasmine Blocker
Tori Bowie
Donavan Brazier
Mikiah Brisco
Ce’Aira Brown
Dezerea Bryant
Cameron Burrell
Michael Cherry
Christina Clemons (Manning)
Shania Collins
Freddie Crittenden
Paul Dedewo
Ryan Fontenot
Justin Gatlin
Queen Harrison
Aleia Hobbs
Ashley Henderson
Je’Von Hutchinson
Kyra Jefferson
Fred Kerley
My’lik Kerley
Jordan Lavender
Josephus Lyles
Noah Lyles
Remontay McClain
Sharika Nelvis
Vernon Norwood
Courtney Okolo
Jenna Prandini
Bryce Robinson
Mike Rodgers
Jaide Stepter
Nathan Strother
Gabby Thomas
Brionna Thomas
Ameer Webb
Shakima Wimbley
Dontavius Wright
Isiah Young

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How to watch 2019 London Marathon

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The London Marathon airs live on NBCSN and streams commercial free for NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” subscribers on Sunday at 4 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
4:05 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:10 – World Para Athletics Marathon Championships Ambulant Athletes
4:25 – Elite Women’s Race
5:10 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The London Marathon is known for the deepest fields of all the annual major marathons. This year is no exception.

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge will race his first 26.2-miler since shattering the world record by 78 seconds in Berlin on Sept. 16 (2:01:39).

Kipchoge, on a modern-era record win streak of nine elite marathons, won his last three London starts, including setting the course record of 2:03:05 in 2016. Another world record on Sunday is a monumental ask, given Berlin is traditionally a faster course than London.

Kipchoge’s competition includes Britain’s four-time Olympic track champion Mo Farah and fellow Kenyans and past London winners Daniel Wanjiru and Wilson Kipsang.

Yet another Kenyan, Mary Keitany, also eyes a fourth London title. The 5-foot-2 soft speaker bagged either the London or New York City Marathons seven of the last eight years, with the outlier being 2013, when she gave birth to her second child.

Keitany’s greatest feat came in London in 2017, when she won in 2:17:01, erasing Paula Radcliffe‘s world record in a women’s only race by 41 seconds.

But last year, Keitany went out at world-record pace and was passed by yet another Kenyan mom, Vivian Cheruiyot, in the 23rd mile in London. Cheruiyot, a four-time Olympic track medalist, returns to defend her title Sunday.

The top two U.S. runners are Molly Huddle, in her London debut, and Emily Sisson, in her marathon debut. Both are jockeying for position among the deepest group of American female marathoners in history with the Olympic Trials looming in 10 months.

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MORE: 2019 Boston Marathon Results