On January 14, 2012, and for the first time ever, the Men's and Women's Olympic Trial Marathon was held on the same course, at the same time. Houston, Texas was the place. The men's race started at 8:00 and the ladies started at 8:15. Today, I plan to give a brief recap of the men's race.
The marathon course was a 2-mile loop followed by three 8-mile loops. Therefore, if one picked their spot right, one could see the runners zip by four times. HOLY FREAK! I WAS THAT ONE! I PICKED OUR SPOT JUST RIGHT. I SAW THEM ALL FOUR TIMES!
Here's the course map. We were stationed at the 15k mark, which was also 1.25ish, 9.25ish, 18/25 ish, and 25.25ish:
I suppose it all began when I picked the hotel. I picked a hotel downtown because that was where the action is. In my traveling days, I've learned that if you're going to travel thousands of miles, for cryin' out loud, stay in a strategic location; a location close to whatever action you plan to partake.
As luck would have it, I picked a hotel right along the marathon course. It was a blind selection that turned into a total treat. So here we are in our spot, bright 'n early. Waiting...
... and eating...
At long last, we looked, and behold! The truck with the clock!
(Notice the time for 1.25ish miles.)
Then who should appear in the lead? Ryan Hall!
Then Abdi Abdirahman, Dathan Ritzenhein, Meb, and Mo Trafeh.
The masses followed.
We waited patiently for the women to come around. After the women came by the first time (women's race will be documented at a later time, hopefully tomorrow), we waited in ernest for the men to make their second loop. Finally (felt like forever, but not really) the boys made their way around to the 15k mark. The lonely lead was a pack of five.
(Ritz, Abdi, Meb, Hall, and Mo)
After the men made their second loop, I spotted Ryan Hall's little brother. I have no proof that this was Ryan Hall's little brother. However, the gent next to him was sporting an official Olympic Trial something-er-other, and the kid was dressed head-to-toe Asics. Also, notice the smile. It's totally his little brother.
With what seemed like a mere blink, round three at approximately 18.25ish miles, was before us. With the lady race happening in between, there was plenty to watch. Trafeh had fallen back, but the four up front were running strong.
(Meb, Hall, Ritz, Abdi)
Shortly thereafter, Utah's very own Paul Petersen made his way through the pack. He looked great. I hollered his name and he looked at me with a confused Who the...? I'm Rabid, 'member me?
By the time the boys had made their fourth lap, approaching us at 25.25 miles, they had caught up to the girls. MEB WAS IN THE LEAD! Oh my stars! Somehow, Meb had zipped past us without me seeing him (imagine that) and I couldn't get a photo of him before he passed. Here's his backside. Meb is sponsored by Sketchers now. I tried on some of those Sketchers while in Houston. Figured they'd help me run 5-minute miles for a couple of hours straight.
Hall was next. He was far enough back that we were sure that Meb would win.
Next was Abdi...
... then Ritz not too far behind. Ritz was working so hard! I hollered at Ritz to Go! Go! Go! so very loud, that I scratched my larynx. Or some other body part nestled in there.
Guess who fought his way into fifth place? None other than Brett Gotcher! I wanted Gotcher on the team. Heck, I wanted them all on the team. Can't they all be on the team? They are all so very awesome!