Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Olympic marathon trials headed to L.A.
By Scott Douglas
The 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials will be held in Los Angeles, Calif., on Feb. 13, 2016, USA Track & Field announced today.
As was the case at the 2012 marathon trials, the men's and women's races will be run on the same criterium course, with separate starts. Both races will be broadcast in their entirety on NBC.
“We are thrilled with what Los Angeles will provide to our athletes, the Olympic movement and the sport of long distance running by hosting this event,” USATF CEO Max Siegel said in a release accompanying the announcement. “With television coverage on NBC and incredible public and private support for the race in one of the world’s biggest media markets, everything is in place to continue to elevate the Olympic Trials and give our athletes a platform on which they can truly shine.”
Los Angeles' bid won out over that of Houston, which hosted the 2012 trials and debuted the model of the men's and women's races running concurrently. Houston proposed repeating that model for the 2016 trials. Cincinnati also bid for the 2016 trials, but, according to the bid's organizer, learned in late November that it was out of the running.
“Houston did a phenomenal job hosting the first combined men’s and women’s marathon Olympic Trials in 2012,” Siegel said. “In Los Angeles, we will continue to grow that model and help elevate the excitement for the Olympic Trials throughout the country.”
The LA Marathon will be run the next day, three to four weeks before its traditional date. (The race is on March 9 this year, and was held on March 17 in 2013.) The earlier date removes a concern that some athletes had voiced about Los Angeles hosting the trials: that the race's traditional date wouldn't allow enough time to recover from the marathon trials for runners who want to make the Olympic 10,000-meter team.
The 2016 track trials will be held in Eugene, Oregon, July 1-10, 2016, giving runners at least four and a half months between the marathon trials and track trials.
In 2012, Dathan Ritzenhein, Amy Hastings, and Janet Bawcom made the 10K team after placing fourth, fourth, and fifth, respectively, at the marathon trials. The time between that year's marathon and track trials was similar to what it will be in 2016.
The trials course hasn't been finalized, but the local organizers said today that a downtown criterium course will mimic the course that will be used in the 2016 Olympic Marathon in Rio de Janeiro.