Just 2 years into life as a marathoner, Galen Rupp—Rio bronze medalist, runner-up by 21 seconds in Boston last year and ’17 Chicago champion—is looking to his April return to Beantown with the zest his 3-year-old twins likely reserve for occasions like Christmas morning.
Rupp’s Rome–Ostia half-marathon win only boosted his bullishness. Whereas his last two tuneup halves, Prague before Boston and Philadelphia before Chicago went in 61:59 (for 11th) and 62:18 for a win, now he’s run sub-60.
“Taking one week easy” before his Italian outing “in the midst of feeling really tired and all that marathon training, I was really pleased with the way that my body came around so quickly and I was able to feel good,” he says. “That gives me a ton of confidence going into Boston where I’m going to have 2 or 3 weeks of rest and do a proper taper.”
After 4 marathons, Rupp is all in as a long roadie. “I love running on the track, I love the 10K. That had really been kind of my identity as a runner for so long,” he says. “It was a hard thing to give up. You know I came so close to winning, I felt like I was right there, at so many major championships [as in 2nd at the ’12 Olympics] but I never actually won one. So it was a little hard to have to put that to bed.”
The medal in Rio helped. Rupp, now 31, realized, “Wow, I have so much room to grow in this and so much opportunity to get better.”
He now adores the long beast, you can hear it in his voice: “It just makes it all the more special that there are only so many opportunities that you have to run one and so much goes into that one race. It’s like a prizefight almost where you’re doing just months and months and months of training all for one day.”
And so far, the Hopkinton-to-Boylston-Street route is Rupp’s favorite. “Boston’s the most prestigious marathon, I believe, in the U.S and the world even, and to win there is something really special,” he says. “That’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I came really close last year, but I definitely wanted to go back and give it another shot.”
After the buildup he’s had, Rupp really likes his chances this time.