Galen Rupp’s dominating victory Saturday in hot conditions in the U.S. Olympic marathon trials raised the possibility of an unprecedented Olympic double.
“I think the double in Rio is certainly possible,” said Rupp, who earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team by easily winning his marathon debut in steamy conditions in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 10 seconds.
“The first step was obviously to qualify for this. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself. Everything up until this was all about the marathon.”
Runners competed in record heat, with the official temperature at 66 degrees at the start. The trials record was 61 degrees in 1960. The temperature rose to 75 by the end of the race.
The 29-year-old Rupp, a silver medalist at 10,000 meters in the 2012 London Games and a seven-time national champion at the distance, could attempt to compete in the marathon and 10,000 in Rio in August, races scheduled eight days apart.
“There’s a lot of time between the 10K and the marathon,” Rupp said. “The 10K being first, being the shorter event, if the marathon was first it would pretty much be impossible to double back from that.”
The Olympic 10,000 is scheduled Aug. 13 and the marathon is set for Aug. 21.
Amy Cragg pulled away late to win the women’s division in 2:28:27.
“Four years ago, it was pretty heartbreaking finishing fourth,” Cragg said. “I worked really, really hard for four years to move up one position (and make the team).”
On the men’s side, 40-year-old Meb Keflezighi finished second — about a minute behind Rupp — to become the oldest U.S. Olympic marathon runner.
“I’m thrilled to be on the team,” Keflezighi said. “Fourth time is the charm.”
Jared Ward was third to take the final Olympic spot.
Desiree Linden was second, and Shalane Flanagan third in the women’s race.
Rupp and Keflezighi raced as a pair through the final six miles before Rupp pulled away over the final three miles. Ward passed Tyler Pennel for third with about eight miles left.
For the women, Linden rallied in the final mile to finish second at 2:29:00. Flanagan, who won the trials four years ago, made her fourth Olympic team by finishing in 2:29:26.
Cragg and Flanagan, who are training partners, ran to the early lead together. Linden overtook Flanagan in the final three miles.
“We’ve got two incredible teams going to Rio so I’m really excited to get out there and represent,” Cragg said.