The U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Field By The Numbers

Written by: Joe Bosshard

U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Field

U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Field.

2016 is going to be a huge year for running fans and the Olympic Marathon Trials is the first big event of year.  The qualifying window closed last weekend. We know who qualified and who did not.  Let’s take a look at some numbers before the race on February 13th.

MEN

 

Event “A” “B”
Marathon 2:15:00
2:19:00
 Half Marathon  1:05:00

 

  • 211 men qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials
  • Just 27 have the A standard (Sub 2:15) leaving 184 with the B standard.  That’s only 12.80% of the field with the A!
  • 86 men qualified by running the marathon standard – 41% of the field
  • 125 Men qualified by running a half marathon – 59% of the field
  • The average marathon qualifying time is 2:15:45.  The median marathon time is 2:16:34
  • The average half marathon qualifying time is 1:04:08.  The median half marathon time is 1:04:26

U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Field

 

 

Where did they qualify? – Marathon

18 – Chicago Marathon

15 – Twin Cities Marathon/US Marathon Championships

11 – Grandma’s Marathon

10 – California International Marathon

9 – Houston Marathon

7  – Boston Marathon

* Note – yes, some runner qualified at more than one race. I took the time and race that was submitted for entrance into the Trials. 

In total, qualifying times by running a marathon came from just 18 locations around the world. Check out this map of all the qualifying times from running a marathon.

 

125 qualified via half marathon time.  Where did they qualify? 

46 – Houston Half Marathon

21 – Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

20 – Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon

9 – Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

8 – Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon

In total, qualifying times by running a half marathon came from 17 locations all of which took place in the US. Check out this map of all the qualifying times from running a half marathon.

By the skin of their teeth

48% of the field qualified within a minute of the standards (half and full marathon).

15 men ran between 2:18-2:19

86 men ran between 64:00-65:00

Matt Sonnenfeldt wins the “Do just enough to qualify” award with a qualifying time 65:00

Better late than never

16 men have qualifying times from the very last date accepted – January 17, 2016

*Some of these guys had already qualified and just ran faster times on that date.

WOMEN

Event “A” “B”
Marathon 2:37:00  2:45:00
Half Marathon  1:15:00
  • 244 Women Qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials
  • 41 have the A standard. 16.8 of the field%
  • 203 have the B standard.
  • Women preferred to qualify the old-fashioned way.
  • 196 women qualified by running the marathon standard – 80.3% of the field. 
  • 48 Women qualified by running a half marathon – 19.7% of the field.
  • The average marathon qualifying time is 2:39:46. The median marathon qualifying time is 2:41:09
  • The average half marathon qualifying time is 1:13:21. The median half marathon qualifying time is 1:13:50.

U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Field

Where did they qualify? Marathon

48 – California International Marathon

28 – Chicago Marathon

23 – Twin Cities Marathon

20 – Grandma’s Marathon

12 – Houston Marathon

10 – Boston Marathon

8 – Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Women showed it didn’t matter where they raced, they can run fast anywhere. Women qualified from 33 races around the world.

Where did they qualify? Half Marathon

14 – Houston Half Marathon

7 – Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon

7 – Rock n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

Women achieved qualifying times from 18 different half marathons around the country.

By the skin of their teeth.

45 women qualified with less than a minute to spare! 18.5% of the field.

24 women ran between 2:44-2:45 for the marathon
21 Women ran between 74-75 minutes for the half marathon

Better late than never

11 women have qualifying marks from the last acceptable date – January, 17th 2016.

*Some women may have already qualified but ran faster on the last day of qualifying.

What does all of this mean?

Runners like to follow the crowd.  It’s easier to run fast when a lot of other people around you are also running fast.

Houston and Minneapolis are fast courses, but they also served as US Marathon Championships and Half Marathon Championships in recent years.  This resulted in a lot of qualifying times coming from these races.

The qualifying window is REALLY long.

The window is from August 1, 2013 to January 17, 2016.  There are times dating back to September 2013 on the qualifying list.  Some qualifiers are not even running anymore.  What were you doing 2 1/2 years ago?  Think about how much has changed in your life.

You would probably like to see more men qualify by running a marathon.  This is the MARATHON trials.  Too many men qualified without running a marathon – nearly 60% of the field used a half marathon time. There is a significant difference between a marathon and a half marathon.  There are a lot of unknowns heading into the men’s race.

The same cannot be said for the women.  Just about the entire field will already know what it’s like to have run a marathon.

Between the Houston Marathon and Half Marathon 81 men and women qualified. Nearly 18% of the entire field qualified from one location!

24% of women that qualified with a marathon time did so at the California International Marathon.

37% of men that qualified with a half marathon time did so at the Houston Half Marathon

23 minutes 48 seconds – The difference between Shalane Flanagan’s top seed time, 2:21:14 and Lauren Fog’s slowest seed time of 2:45:02

10 minutes 19 seconds – The difference between the fastest seed time, Meb Keflezighi’s 2:08:37, and the slowest seed time,  Jed Christiansen’s 2:18:56.

18.5% of women that qualified did so with less than a minute to spare.  48% of the men’s field qualified within a minute of the standards. This could mean that the men ran just what they needed to in order to qualify or it could mean that the standards were pretty difficult.  The majority of men qualified by running a half marathon, so the qualifying times are likely to be closer to standard, as the race is shorter.

14 men were added to the field after the USATF changed the qualifying standard from 2:18:00 to 2:19:00 just a few weeks ago.

38 women qualified for the race after the standards were relaxed from 2:43 to 2:45.

Numbers and times don’t mean a whole lot when the gun goes off on race day.  We will have 6 Olympians in just a few weeks!

Joe is a former University of Colorado runner with a penchant for numbers and filing tax returns. He started run2run as a distraction while studying for CPA exams.

2 Comment

  1. Jonny says: Reply

    Do you know what percentage of runners male and female that qualified for the 2016 trials actually competed in the 2012 trials in Houston?

  2. Very interesting! Another interesting stat would be how many of the half-marathon qualifiers will be making their marathon debut. You write, “too many men qualified without running a marathon,” but I would argue that’s not entirely accurate. They didn’t run a qualifying marathon but I would wager most of the qualifiers have run a marathon, and probably most just outside the B standard.

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