It was announced this morning that reigning Olympic Trials Marathon champions Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan are the first athletes to officially declare their intention to compete in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon on February 13 in L.A.
Keflezighi, who owns an Olympic silver medal in the marathon from the 2004 Athens Games, is currently the fastest men’s qualifier at 2:08:37, set in winning the 2014 Boston Marathon. Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000m, owns the fastest mark to date by a U.S. woman, a 2:21:14 set at Berlin last fall.
Over 300 athletes are currently qualified for the event, which will take place on a criterium style course the day before the 2016 L.A. Marathon. The top three finishers in each Trials race who meet the Olympic time standards will represent the U.S. at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
“It is with great excitement that I officially announce my plan to compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials in Los Angeles,” the 40-year-old Keflezighi said in a press release. “As a product of San Diego, and UCLA, I am looking forward to competing in front of family and friends. It would be a great honor to make my fourth Olympic Team, but I know the competition will be very strong.”
Flanagan, 34, of Portland, Ore, is also a three-time Olympian who finished 10th at the Olympic marathon in London. At the 2012 marathon trials, she set an Olympic Trials record of 2:25:38.
“For most athletes, pulling on that red, white and blue singlet is what it’s all about,” said Flanagan, who will represent the U.S. in the 10,000m at the upcoming world championships in Beijing. “There are few things I want more than to make my fourth Olympic Team at the 2016 Games in Rio, and it all starts in Los Angeles on February 13. It’s a good omen that Team USA’s quest for gold begins in the Golden State!”
In order to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials, athletes must run under the minimum marathon standard of 2:18:00 for men and 2:43:00 for women, or a sub-1:05 half marathon by a man/sub-1:15 mark by a woman, by January 17, 2016.