This weekend the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials will take place in Houston, TX. These trials are shaping up to be one of the most competitive in US history. There is a lot of speculation that records will fall, not only the fastest winning times in the history of the trials, but also the fastest times to make the team.
LetsRun goes into great details on their site about the competitors and how everything will shake out, see the links below and see the other links to interviews etc. they have up on their main page.
LetsRun Men's Preview
LetsRun Women's Preview
So how do I think things will turn out? I don't believe that it will take a sub 2:10 to make the men's team as Ryan Hall has stated. Not that I think it will be a much slower time, but probably in the 2:11-2:12 range. The women's top three on the other hand, will have to have a great day. I feel it is possible that 2:25 will be needed to make the team, will it actually happen, we will see?
Picking the top three for both the male's and the female's is tough, a lot can happen in a championship race. There may be some underdog's that go for it, which will shake the race up depending on when moves are made. Anyway you look at it, there is great depth in each field, which will make for some exciting racing, too bad we won't be able to watch it live!
So here are my top three picks...
I don't see any upsets happening in the men's race, with that said, I also would not be surprised if Meb does not make the team and the same goes for Dathan. Meb is coming off of NYC and wasn't able to get back into full training as soon as he wanted to, but that might have been a good thing, maybe he will be fresh and ready to roll. Ritz..I can see him out of the top three, but I can also see him beating Hall. He hasn't raced a marathon in a while, but he certainly has not hit his full potential in the marathon.
So who can pick up the pieces if these guys falter? There are many guys waiting for these guys fall apart...Mo Trafeh and Brett Gotcher are just two that could come though, but there are a half dozen other runners that I wouldn't be surprised if they were standing on the podium at the end of the day.
Again, I think the women's race will have more ladies together late in the race. I do feel the top two are a lock, and I pick Amy Hastings as a dark horse getting it done...Obviously if Kara Goucher has a normal day, she should be there and can also win outright. And what about Deena Kastor?
Now the race up front will be very interesting to see, but I am also excited to see how the "ultra runners" fair tomorrow. There is a good group of runners that mainly focus on distances greater than 26.2 miles, but they made the trials and will be toeing the line. See iRunFar.com for a great preview of those runners.