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U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon Sneak Peek

By Brian Metzler

The women’s and men’s 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon are taking place tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 3) in Orlando, Florida. Those are the races that will determine which runners qualify for Team USA and get to run the marathon in the Paris Olympics in early August.

Based on their qualifying times, there are three key favorites for the three Olympic qualifying spots in the women’s race – Emily Sisson (32, Phoenix, Ariz., 2:18;29), Keira D’Amato (39, Richmond, Va., 2:19:12) and Betsy Saina (35, Colorado Springs/Iten, Kenya, 2:21:40). 

The men’s race is a little bit more complicated, in part because the U.S. has only two guaranteed spots, although it could get a third spot if the race is faster than the 2:08:10 Olympic-qualifying standard. That would be ahead of the 2:09:02 Olympic Trials record, which means that it might be a matter of which three runners can survive the best. 

You can watch it all play out on Peacock beginning at 10 A.M. ET, while and NBC TV will offer a delayed version starting at 12:15 P.M. ET.

The men’s favorites are Conner Mantz (27, Smithfield, Utah, 2:07:47), Clayton Young (30, American Fork, Utah, 2:08:00) and Galen Rupp (37, Portland, Oregon, 2:08:48), Sam Chelanga (38, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 2:08:50), Scott Fauble (32, Portland, Oregon/Boulder, Colorado), Elkanah Kibet (40, Colorado Springs, 2:09:07) and Zach Panning (28, Rochester, Mich., 2:09:28). With a race that’s expected to go out fast in warm-ish conditions, however, it’s best to expect the unexpected.

But the real question is: Which marathon racing supershoes will be the most prevalent in the races and which ones will make it to the podium? Here’s a rundown of the fastest shoes in the field: 

  • Nike has several models in the field, with its Alphafly 3 ($285) and Vaporfly 3 ($270). (Kelvin Kiptum set a new world record of 2:00:35 in the Alphafly 3 back in October at the Chicago Marathon.)

  • There will be a few pairs of the Adidas Adios Pro Evo 1 ($500) on the streets of Orlando, but probably quite a few pairs of Adizero Adios Pro 3 ($250), which has been one of the top shoes on the international marathon circuit for two years. Ethiopia's Tigst Assefa blasted the previous women’s world record wearing a pair of Adidas Adios Pro Evo 1 at the Berlin Marathon last September, running an eye-popping 2:11:53.)

  • A lot of Hoka athletes will be wearing the brand’s Rocket X 2 ($249), including Aliphine Tuliamuk, Stephanie Bruce, Kellyn Taylor and Biya Simbassa, but Futsum Zienasellassie and Nick Hauger will be wearing the new Cielo X 1 ($275),

  • Sisson, the women’s American record-holder in the marathon (2:18:29), will be wearing the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4 ($250).

  • Brooks just released its Hyperion Elite 4 ($250) last week and gave each of the 380 qualifiers a pair on Thursday and Friday in Orlando. That’s the shoe that Panning, CJ Albertson, Colin Bennie and two-time Olympian Des Linden will be wearing.

  • Jake Riley, who finished 28th at the Tokyo Olympics marathon, is expected to wear the Cloudboom Tri, the World Athletics-approved prototype that Hellen Obiri wore to win both the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon last year. There also will be a handful of athletes wearing the Cloudboom Echo 3 ($290).

  • About eight ASICS athletes – including Saina, Sara Hall, Lindsay Flanagan, Nico Montanez and Abdi Abdirahman – meanwhile, will be wearing prototypes of yet-to-be-released next-generation Metaspeed racing shoes. (Due out in stores in early March!)

  • Puma’s soon-to-launch Fast-R Nitro Elite 2 ($260) will be on the feet of Jenny Simpson and Sara Vaughn, while Dakotah Lindwurm is expected to wear the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 ($200)

  • Molly Huddle, a two-time Olympian on the track, continues her return to competition after giving birth to her daughter, JoJo, less than two years ago. She will be wearing a pair of the soon-to-be-released Saucony Endorphin Pro 4, while Parker Stinson and Brian Shrader are expected to wear Saucony Endorphin Elite ($275) on their feet.

Finally, just this week, Tracksmith has joined the supershoe party as its new Eliot Racer is debuting on the feet of six runners in the Olympic Trials, including Lou Serafani, Tyler Jermann and Grace Moore. Although it’s still considered a prototype, it is uniquely designed with a dual-density TPU foam cushioning system that includes a soft, responsive midsole in a fully removable layer under the sock liner and a carbon-fiber plate and a firmer density of foam in the chassis.


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