Want to Qualify for the Marathon Trials? Get to Florida!

Written by: Jonny Stevens

jax bay marathon

There isn’t much time left to qualify for the marathon trials

The Jax Bay Half Marathon in Jacksonville, Florida this weekend is drawing a big group of elite runners all aiming to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials. While a race offering only $500 in prize money, no appearance fees, and only modest accommodations usually wouldn’t see the elites clamoring for a position on the start line, this year’s race is special.

The deadline to run a qualifying time is January 17th a little less than a month before the Trials. The Jacksonville race is perfect timing for those still looking to hit a time, while about 15 runners who already have the standard are using it as one last tune-up before the big day.

Richard Fannin, the elite runner coordinator for the race told Runner’s World that the race is a great chance for the runners to compete, but also a chance to help their buddies hit the standard.

Runners Juan Paredes and Kevin Castille will be extra motivated after having run qualifying times (64:47) at the Rock’n’Roll Half in San Diego this summer before having their times disallowed.

Castille is coming off a Masters win at the U.S. Club Cross Country Championships in December and looks to be fit. He will have plenty of good pacers Sunday with names like Tyler Pennel, Chris Derrick and Anthony Famiglietti toeing the line.

Derrick, a cross country star and World team member, is making his half-marathon debut Sunday and likely won’t be looking to qualify for the trials, rather use the race as a good workout, the way Galen Rupp did a few weeks ago in Portland.

It’s not often you get such a large group of runners all running for the same standard, so we expect it to be a fast one Sunday. At a competitive race with big prize money, racers are a little more cautious, and usually don’t strategize with each other. Sunday will be unique in that everyone is trying to run the same time and qualify for the marathon trials.

This is going to be one of the most fun races to follow in early 2016. Fans who don’t like rabbited races might be a little turned off, the entire field is essentially rabbiting each other, but we are excited about the camaraderie involved. You always see people excited for each other and having fun at local 5ks, but it’s so competitive at the top of U.S. distance running that usually the front of the pack in elite fields is deathly serious. Running is supposed to be fun! This race will deliver fast times AND good times!

 

Check out the organizers facebook page here, to see list of elites entered and follow results on Sunday!

Jonny Stevens is a skier and hockey player who got tricked into doing cross country as a freshman in high school. After running for the University of Colorado for 5 years he returned to the mountains and worked for a non-profit while tricking freshmen into running xc at his alma mater. Then he was lured back to Boulder by the chance to work for run2run.

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