Fiona O’Keeffe delivered an electrifying performance at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando, securing her place at the Paris Olympics and smashing the previous record by more than three minutes. In her debut 26.2-mile race, O’Keeffe completed the course in 2:22:10, surpassing Shalane Flanagan’s 2012 record of 2:25:38.
The women’s race also witnessed Emily Sisson, the US women’s marathon record holder, and Dakotah Lindwurm claiming second and third positions, solidifying their spots in the American women’s team for Paris.
Conner Mantz claimed the top spot in the men’s race with a time of 2:09:05, narrowly edging out his training partner Clayton Young. Unfortunately, Leonard Korir, finishing third with a time of 2:09:57, awaits confirmation on qualification, as his time fell outside the threshold to secure another spot on the US team. Under the new qualification system, Korir needs another American man, excluding Mantz or Young, to achieve a time below 2:08:10 in an eligible race by the end of May to secure the third spot on the team.
O’Keeffe, at 25, stole the spotlight, becoming the youngest-ever winner of the women’s trials and the first woman to triumph in the event on her marathon debut. She surged ahead of the field after the 18-mile mark, finishing 32 seconds ahead of Sisson, a two-time Olympian in the 10,000 meters. Expressing her emotions after the race, O’Keeffe shared, “A lot of excitement, definitely some nerves kicking in.
As I wrapped up the race, I couldn’t help but hear the excited voices around me saying, ‘You’re heading to Paris, you’re going to Paris.’ Despite the cheers, I was fully aware of the talented women chasing me, and it made me push even harder – I was running with a mix of excitement and a hint of nervousness.
The intense competition in the women’s field meant notable contenders like Sara Hall, aiming to compete in the Olympics at the age of 40, finished fifth, while former American record holder Keira D’Amato withdrew after mile 20. Lindwurm, a 36th-placer in the last trials, finished strong, securing third place in 2:25:31.
Mantz and Young, with the two fastest qualifying times entering the men’s event, secured their Paris tickets by distancing themselves from Zach Panning in the final miles, crossing the finish line nearly side by side. Now, the focus shifts to whether another American man can meet the qualification time, determining Korir’s inclusion in the team.