Olympic Trials Marathon: Tune In, Turn Up (the heat)


Hot weather at the 2000 Olympic Trials marathon in Pittsburgh resulted in slow times and only one athlete making the Olympic squad.

With the 2016 Olympic Team Trials marathon just hours away, there are as many story lines and topics of discussion as there are entrants in the races, which begin at 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

That time has become an issue in the past 10 days or so as it’s become apparent that L.A. is going to be blanketed by unseasonably warm weather (can everyone say el Niño?) that could see the temperatures rise from the lower 70s at the start to above 80 by the finish. Organizers even thought of moving the start earlier, as they did for the open L.A. Marathon last year in similar conditions, but then decided it was unnecessary.

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Minnesota Nice, x 26.2

Hyperbole is pretty much de regueur when it comes to advertising road races. “PR course,” “best post-race party,” “bands every mile” are just a few of the claims you’ll see bandied about on entry forms and websites for events of nearly every distance and size.

MTCM_vert_rgbBut the folks in the Twin Cities who put on their eponymous marathon every October aren’t exaggerating when they call their race “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America®.” Heck, they’ve even trademarked the phrase, and why shouldn’t they? If it were ever contested in court, any other city 26-miler that tried to mount a challenge would be bounced out in a heartbeat.

When city marathons first started becoming the rage back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, in the wake of the success of New York City and Chicago in this country and London and Berlin overseas, there was an inside joke among those of us covering the sport that an urban marathon course had to include at least one stretch of industrial ugliness or housing malaise, just to ensure that the participants really knew they were in a city. But somehow, over a course that meanders from the start near the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis to the finish near the state capitol in St. Paul, the TCM organizers have managed to route runners over 26.2 miles of the most scenic roads found within the limits of any city in this country. Continue reading