U.S. distance running star Galen Rupp won the Foot Traffic Holiday Half Marathon in Portland on Sunday, clocking a time of 1 hour, 1 minute and 20 seconds to win the small race by more than 10 minutes. It was his first half marathon in more than four years.
More importantly, his time was easily fast enough to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials marathon (which has a 1:05 half marathon qualifying standard for men). Whether or not he’s going to run the Feb. 13 marathon in Los Angeles remains to be seen, but his performance on Sunday was set up to give him the opportunity if he chooses to pursue it. It would be his marathon debut.
“I’m keeping my options open,” Rupp told the Oregonian after Sunday’s race.
Rupp would be among the favorites to make the Olympic team in the marathon if he chooses to go for it. If Rupp were to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team in the marathon, he could attempt to double in the 10,000-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Trials on the track in early July. The Olympic 10,000-meter final is scheduled for Aug. 13, eight days before the marathon.
Sunday’s Holiday Half Marathon was Rupp’s second half—in 2011, he ran a 1:00:30 at the NYC Half. He ended up sticking exclusively to the track for the following year’s London Olympics, and it paid off—he won silver in the 10,000m, finishing behind only training partner Mo Farah of Great Britain.
Rupp’s 2016 plans will be an interesting storyline in running over the next couple of months.
Rupp has won seven straight U.S. titles in the 10,000m and has finished eighth or higher at the world championships and Olympics five times since 2009. He also has four top-10 international finishes in the 5,000m, including a seventh-place showing at the 2012 Olympics.