The Group Chat: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

With the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials less than a week away, we asked our crew to submit their top three finishers on each side, in order, along with a dark horse contender for the race in Atlanta on February 29th.

And then chaos ensued.

So we figured, why don't we just literally copy what we typed in our Group Chat and put it in an article? Here we go...


Sean Collins: Surprised that nearly everyone is going with Sisson for the victory.

Sam Ivanecky: @SeanCollins No Ward or Neely? Damn...

Brett Haffner: @BenWeisel As much as I want your men’s prediction to be right, I just don’t see both Fauble and Ward making the team with guys like Rupp and Korir also in the field.

Sean: Neely is my dark, dark, dark, dark horse. She ran the 2:44 in Houston just to qualify. She definitely has much more in the tank and is a gritty runner who can handle the hills.

Sam: I like Sisson for the same reason I like BYU's Whittni Orton. She just shows up and runs well and you never quite know what to expect, but it’s always good.

Ben Weisel: I’m not sure Korir is the lock that everyone seems to think he is. I think Rupp will make it comfortably. I like the Lagat picks though.

Sean: I think the total opposite @BenWeisel. I think Rupp is much more volatile.

Ben: If Rupp is healthy (and I think he is), then I feel confident in him.

Michael: I put Rupp 3rd, but I could see him backing off a bit near the end if he knows he safely has it. I think he's essentially a lock.

Ben: @MichaelWeidenbruch Retweet.

Sean: Rupp feels like the person who is the most likely to drop out.

Ben: Where do we think Walmsley finishes?

Sam: @BenWeisel Did you not read mine?

Michael Weidenbruch: I think Walmsley is around top 10 to 15, or totally out of the picture

Ben: @SamIvanecky Lol. I know how you feel about him.

Sam: I will die on this sword

Brett: I’m gonna guess between top five to top 10.

Ben: I think he will hang, but I don’t think he will be able to finish top three.

Sean: I mean, Walmsley feels like either a winner or someone not making it.

Ben: Am I the only one who thinks Hall will make it?

Sam: @BenWeisel I forgot about her, but it doesn’t change mine.

Ben: I feel the same about Hasay as Sean does about Rupp.

Brett: I don’t have a ton of confidence in Hasay.

Sam: We should do confidence picks.

Sean: @BenWeisel I also feel that way about Hasay. Least likely to finish, most likely to struggle on the hills...

Sam: @SeanCollins Hasay had a great debut at Boston...

Michael: If that was more recent, I would be more confident in picking her.

Brett: I second that @MichaelWeidenbruch

Michael: That said, I still chose her.

Sam: I feel like Jerrell Mock is a decent dark horse after Chicago.

Sean: So what will the races look like? I feel like the men's is much more likely to go out fast, while women will probably look around at each other for a bit.

Ben: I agree that the women’s will be slower. Do we think anyone is going to take it out hard on their own?

Sam: If he has to, Jim.

Michael: I agree. I think the men go out fast and a big pack will very quickly turn into a small group of actual contenders

Brett: How about Korir? I feel like Jim will send it.

Sea: I'd think Walmsley and Korir are most likely to push it early. @BrettHaffner and I are very in sync tonight.

Sam: I was typing that about Korir as you said it @SeanCollins.

Ben: Will that come back to bite them?

Sam: Probably not. I doubt it’ll be crazy and it’s supposed to be good weather so that eliminates heat risk.

Michael: I could also see some relative no-name men taking it out hard.

Conor Stack: I agree, Michael.

Ben: Looks like the weather will be good enough for it.

Brett: If Fauble and Ward work together (and I think other Americans will too, like Fischer/Mock/Stinson/BTC) they could chase.

Conor: I definitely see a lot of potential "second tier" guys (Fischer/Mock) competing very hard for a while. Not sure how long they can stay in it though.

Sean: It's also why I think Korir is most likely to qualify. I think the field would let Korir go on his own for the most part. Rupp wouldn't feel the need to cover it and neither would the rest I think. Maybe some 20th-40th place folks try to go with him and get away, but bring the field with them. Otherwise, Korir gets away early I think.

Sam: How many will let it go though? I could see Ward, Rupp, etc. jumping on to make sure they don’t lose the race.

Ben: I agree with Sam, I don’t think people will let them get too far. It’s too deep of a field for people to just give up one of the spots.

Brett: I don’t think Rupp will let anyone go, even if it’s Korir. Unless Mike Smith wants him to run as conservative as possible, Rupp will run with the lead.

Sam: If Smith learned anything from NCAA's, it’s to cover the moves.

Sean: I feel like Korir will race to win. Ward will race for 2nd. Not sure about Rupp, but feels like he wouldn't make a move in the first half.

Michael: I think anyone would be dumb not to cover a move. Look at Yuki at Boston in 2018. Weather was obviously a factor, but it shows that you can't wait to take someone seriously until they've gotten too far.

Sean: @MichaelWeidenbruch I disagree. In 2018 Boston, Yuki wasn't in the lead until mile 25. Yes, there was some pace pushing early, but it's not like he jumped away and never got caught.

Michael: @SeanCollins Wow, good point. I forgot it was that late in the race.

Sam: Women’s one taking Des, eh?

Michael: I picked Des for #2!

Sam: Sorry @MichaelWeidenbruch I missed that.

Ben: I think she will come close, 4th or 5th.

Sam: Is it fair to knock Des because her best competitors (Sisson, Huddle, Hasay, Hall) are all faster over the 10k or 10 mile distances which could let them “finish faster”? That’s my concern. Linden always paces very even and the heart is there, but she's just not the fastest. I did watch a video today that picked Des because they felt her stride fit the hills best.

Michael: I’m not sure how much that higher-end speed will matter on such a hilly course. If Des can even split, then I think that will be a massive advantage as she might be passing a lot of people in the last 5k or 10k.

Brett: I also totally forgot about Kellyn Taylor and Aliphine Tuliamuk from NAZ Elite...

Maura Beattie: Percentage Hasay shows up to the line healthy?

Sam: @MauraBeattie Per Instagram, very good

Maura: @SamIvanecky I still don’t believe it.

Sam: @MauraBeattie :(

Sean: Also, currently more people have picked Bernard Lagat than Leonard Korir.

Ben Weisel: I think he is the safest bet.

Sam: @SeanCollins I’s Lagat. He’s a legend. If he was 70, I’d put him like 4th.

Sean: Speaking of legendary and Yuki, he's broken the 2:20 barrier 94 times.

Michael: How does everyone feel about guys like Jerrell Mock and Conor McMillan? Top 10 material?

Conor: Mock is a fiery racer, I think he can find his way into the top 10 and surprise some people. I also like McMillan’s chances.

Brett: Oh shoot, I forgot about Milly!

Sam: Mock > McMillan, but both fringe top 10 contenders.

Ben: I forgot about McMillan. I think they both could be in the top 10.

Sam: @BenWeisel We are apparently also in sync tonight.

Michael: McMillan’s success in NY should be a good indicator for the hills.

Sam: I’m interested to see what this course is really like. It seems like the big thing is that while none of the hills are huge, it’s just never flat.

Maura: The elevation gain in Atlanta is going to be over 1300 feet. And the decline is comparable. Now, which professional team has the best showing? HOKA NAZ Elite, Bowerman, BYU Alums?

Michael: I’d say NAZ Elite when considering men and women

Brett: Men - BYU alum, Women - NAZ elite

Garrett Zatlin: We should put this into an article...