2024 Olympic Marathon Trials Preview — Part 1

How will the two OT races in Orlando play out? Part 1 of our Preview lays out predicted course conditions and more. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

WHEN? Saturday February 03. Men’s start 10:10 AM (EST); Women’s start 10:20 AM. This will be the fourth edition of a conjoined men’s and women’s Trials, the pairing having begun with the Houston Trials in ’12 followed by Los Angeles ’16 and Atlanta in ’20.

Broadcast: Streaming live on Peacock (10:00 AM). Tape-delayed on NBC (12 noon EST). Check your local listings.

Trials Websites

USATF Trials Home Page

Orlando LOC Home Page

Weather: Weather looks OK, not as bad as feared, but not the good-to-great weather expected on Thursday. With each successive day temperatures and dewpoints are likely to tick up 2–3 degrees Fahrenheit. Saturday should not be too bad. With forecasted sunny skies, temperatures will rise from 62 to 72 (16–22 C) degrees, amid light easterly winds of 4–7mph, and manageable dewpoint temperatures rising from 46 to 49.

For athletes who have acclimatized with an extended pre-Trials stay in Florida, the race-day weather will be a much welcomed break from the hot and humid weather of the past week.

The expected 10-degree increase in temperature over the course of the races poses the most significant challenge for the runners as they will try to maintain an efficient performance while the temperature increases a degree every 15 minutes. The dew point is also borderline, sitting just below the 50 (10c) degree threshold when the energy that an athlete expends processing sweat begins to compromise performance.

The light wind and little chance of rain are pluses, though with much more humid air and rain showers predicted for Sunday we can only hope that the weather change doesn’t pick up its pace.

Weather is weather – check back for updates at Weather Underground.

Prediction: 2+ stars, sunny and a bit warm finishing over 70-degress, and a borderline rather challenging dewpoint.

Criterium Course: The course consists of a primary 8-mile loop, preceded by a 2-mile starting loop, and concluding with a 385-yard finishing straight. The course features both repeating mile markers and 5K stations. Real-time splits should be available.

Course Elevation and Shade Characteristics: As may be expected for central Florida, the course is relatively flat, but far from dead flat with a 39-foot elevation range and a 30-foot riparian depression in the middle of the course separating higher ground found downtown in the start/finish area and the eastern portion of the course.

Slope: As for the relatively flat sections, % Slope calculations for each 100-meter segment of the course reveal that in sum 8600 meters (20.4%) is flat, while 9100 meters (21.6%) rises 1 foot in elevation over 100 meters, and an additional 7500 meters (17.8%) drops but one foot.

Link to Technical Map

Trials Time & Place and Qualification for the Paris Olympics

Three qualification time standards are in play for participation in the US Trials and the Olympics.

Trials Q Standards

Men — 2:18:00 (206 Participants), Half-Marathon 63:00 (7)
Note: Abdi Abdirahman — now 47 years old and vying to make his sixth Olympic Team — and Jake Riley are qualified by virtue of having been Tokyo Olympics competitors.

Women — 2:37:00 (153 participants), Half-Marathon 72:00 (12)

Olympic Q Standards

Men — 2:11:30 (21 participating)
Women — 2:29:30 (32 participating)

Olympic ‘Team Spot’ Qualifier

Men — 2:08:10 (2, Conner Mantz and Clayton Young)
Women — 2:27:30 (21 participating)

Link to lists of Trials Qualifying Performances

Place Qualifiers for the US Team
The first 3 women, and first 3, or first 2 men’s finishers are self-selected for the Paris Olympic Team.

The qualification system on one hand is simple— hit the 2:08:10 or 2:27:30 standard OR rank in the world’s top 68 marathoners and that clocking qualifies an athlete for Paris if they are selected by their country. It is this ranking aspect that is exceedingly convoluted as it employs a ranking system that is in constant flux.

Olympic Qualifying may well be much like NCAA Cross Country System which is also a bit cumbersome, but is neatly sorted out once the racing is complete. The women’s qualification with 21 runners having bettered the standard has opened up a full 3 Team USA berths for Paris. The men only have two via Connor Mantz and Clayton Young. The US may have to wait out the spring marathon season as more international athletes may hit the standard and reduce the number of rankings qualifiers. While this may not quite seem fair, note that it is a global system and the US Trials are unique. Olympic selection for all other nations and their athletes involves chasing times, and they can chase the 2:08:10 standard through the end of April, the fast-course London and Rotterdam races included.

For US athletes, the last chance to chase the 2:08:10 standard is at the Trials and with predicted pretty good weather, expect more than a handful to see how far they can sustain the requisite 4:53 mile pace.

Trials Records: Men — Ryan Hall 2:09:02 (2008). Women — Shalane Flanagan 2:25:38 (2012)

Trials History and Fields: The Trials Media Guide from USATF is a good read providing a review of US Olympic Marathon Trials history along with profiles of the leading contenders.

Link To K. Ken Nakamura’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Stats Preview with deep OT all-time lists & more.

Sub 2:11:00 U.S. Men 2022–2023
Conner Mantz 2:07:47 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023
Clayton Young 2:08:00 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023
Galen Rupp 2:08:48 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023
Sam Chelanga 2:08:50 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023
Scott Fauble 2:08:52 Boston Marathon Boston, MA 4/18/2022
Elkanah Kibet 2:09:07 Boston Marathon Boston, MA 4/18/2022
Zach Panning 2:09:28 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/9/2022
Leonard Korir 2:09:31 Paris Marathon Paris, FRA 4/2/2023
Futsum Zienasellassie 2:09:40 Marathon Rotterdam Rotterdam 4/16/2023
Brian Shrader 2:09:46 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023
Matt McDonald 2:09:49 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/9/2022
Nicolas Montanez 2:09:55 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/9/2022
Teshome Mekonen 2:10:16 Berlin Marathon Berlin, GER 9/24/2023
CJ Albertson 2:10:23 Boston Marathon Boston, MA 4/18/2022
Biya Simbassa 2:10:34 Prague Marathon Prague, CZE 5/7/2023
Joel Reichow 2:10:37 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023
Nathan Martin 2:10:45 Grandma’s Marathon Duluth, MN 6/17/2023
Reed Fischer 2:10:54 Boston Marathon Boston, MA 4/18/2022
Sub-2:26:00 U.S. Women 2022–2023
Emily Sisson 2:18:29 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/9/2022
Keira D’Amato 2:19:12 Houston Marathon Houston, TX 1/16/2022
Betsy Saina 2:21:40 Tokyo Marathon Tokyo, JPN 3/5/2023
Sara Hall 2:22:10 World Championships Eugene, OR 7/18/2022
Emma Bates 2:22:10 Boston Marathon Boston, MA 4/17/2023
Molly Seidel 2:23:07 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023
Sara Vaughn 2:23:24 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023
Susanna Sullivan 2:24:27 London Marathon London, GBR 4/23/2023
Gabriella Rooker 2:24:35 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023
Aliphine Tuliamuk 2:24:37 Boston Marathon Boston, MA 4/17/2023
Dakotah Lindwurm 2:24:40 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023
Lindsay Flanagan 2:24:43 Gold Coast Marathon GC AUS 7/3/2022
Nell Rojas 2:24:51 Boston Marathon Boston, MA 4/17/2023
Sarah Sellers 2:25:43 Grandma’s Marathon Duluth, MN 6/18/2022
Lauren Hagans 2:25:56 Grandma’s Marathon Duluth, MN 6/17/2023
Tristin Van Ord 2:25:58 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL 10/8/2023