Heading into the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, the energy in downtown Los Angeles is abuzz with elite runners and Olympic hopefuls. Back-to-back press conferences with the top men’s and women’s qualifiers have been occurring the couple days before race day on Feb.13, and the general consensus among the athletes we’ve spoken to is that they’re ready and feeling fit. Our staff has collected some of the more memorable quotes in the days leading up to race day from thoughts on how the weekend heat wave will affect the race outcome to individual athlete’s race day strategy.
Thoughts on weather and the course:
“With the heat, whether it’s going to make it more tactical or not, I don’t think anyone is going to try to run away early. But if they do you have to be ready for that. With that being said, it’s going to take a 2:08 effort.” -Luke Puskedra, 2:10:24 qualifying time.
“You know, I think time will be really hard to predict, especially with the heat. And even the course is a little slower in general with all the turns. It’s going to look pretty ugly.” -Annie Bersagel, 2:28:29.
“We’ve had some warm workouts, but nothing like this.” -Shalane Flanagan, 2:21:14.
On what it takes to make the team:
“It’s about closing well, it’s handling that last 10K and being able to finish a marathon and not really just hanging on and getting in.” -Desi Linden, 2:23:54
On running your best race:
“Honestly, the only marathon I got to run my way, was the (2014) Boston Marathon … The marathon definitely keeps you humble.” -Meb Keflezighi, 2:08:37
On training partners:
Within the top three qualifiers, Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg have been training together under Nike in Portland, Ore., and Flagstaff, Ariz., and both have a good chance of making the team.
“My training is always enhanced when I share it. Just having the comfort of her [Amy Cragg] next to me running will feel like we’re back in Portland or in Flagstaff doing what we know how to do. And I think having that synergy between us will allow us to stay calm and wait for the right moments to make the crucial decisions.” -Flanagan
“You run that much with someone [Flanagan] and you work so hard with that person and you see them working hard day in and day out. You become just as invested in them as you do yourself. We’re going to get out there and we’re going to work together as much as possible, and honestly just having her there will be a little bit of a comfort.” -Amy Cragg, 2:27:03
“As athletes, as runners, we’re a bit neurotic and we think more is always better, and you just have to trust that you have done enough.” -Flanagan
“And the taper tantrums are real.” -Flanagan
“I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t feel like I had a chance to fight for it.” -Bersagel
“I’m tired of being the fourth place finisher in the Olympic Trials Marathon.” -Cragg