I’m headed to the Olympic Marathon Trials!

The Olympic rings are shown in a scenic location. (Free stock photo from Pixabay, via Pexels)

Registration opened today for the Olympic Marathon Trials.

That is true. But you didn’t actually think I was running in the trials, did you? (Please let me know if you did.) I am excited to be attending my first-ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the marathon — as a spectator.

I’ve heard more about the marathon trials than ever leading into 2020, and it was even a topic of conversation when I ran the Vermont City Marathon last year. The trials races will be where American men and women will race for spots on the U.S. team for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Fellow BibRave Pro Jessica also ran the Vermont City Marathon, and she lives in Atlanta, the site of the 2020 trials. She has a cool role working with athletes for next year’s race.

This sounds like a fun, unique event to be a part of — why not make a vacation out of the weekend and check it out? Luckily for me, the Atlanta Track Club is hosting a race for us regular people the next day.

So, several months ago, I registered for the Publix Atlanta Marathon, which will be my 12th marathon, after this October’s Marine Corps Marathon. In the spring, the price was $70; it’s now $100 through Nov. 11. I still need to book a flight and a place to stay.

Georgia will also mark my eighth marathon state. I’ve heard it’s a hilly course — and I even read about it in “Running Dangerously: A Dad, A Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan.” I’ll certainly train for the race, but I won’t be aiming for a personal record.

The courses are different for the pros, who race is on Feb. 29, and rest of us, who race March 1. It’s perfect for me — the Olympic Trials marathon course has loops, which will be better for spectating, but the marathon that I’ll be running covers more of the city, which will be more fun for running 26.2 miles.

Women have to run a time of 2:45 or faster (or 1:13 or faster in a half marathon) to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials. I looked up that marathon pace, and that’s a 6:17/mile average. If you’re a runner, you know how fast that is. If you aren’t a runner, it’s super fast. I’ve never run a single mile at that pace, even in high school when I believe my fastest 1600-meter run was about 6:35 (and it kills me that I’m not sure of my PR).

Men have to run a 2:19 time or faster for a marathon (or 1:04 or faster in a half marathon). That’s a 5:18 pace for the marathon — and a marathon time that’s faster than my latest half marathon.

The runners at these races will be vying for spots on the Olympic team, so of course they need to be ridiculously fast — the best in the entire country. I’m pumped to watch the races and then enjoy my run through the city the next day. Of course, I’ll be exploring Atlanta, too! I’ve never been there.

The Atlanta Track Club has a website dedicated to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the marathon, which can be found here.

Interested in the Publix Atlanta Marathon? Visit this page.

Let me know if you’re headed to Atlanta! I have a feeling it will be a running party. Maybe I’ll run into some elites around town.

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