Kevin Havel photo by Matt Kolb; Kristen Heckert photo by Liz Farina Markel
All eyes in the running community will turn to Los Angeles this weekend as 370 of the best long distance runners in the country compete for the chance to represent the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the marathon. While big names like Meb Keflezighi, Galen Rupp, Desiree Linden and Shalane Flanagan garner the most national attention, nine local athletes will toe the line as well on Saturday.
Kevin Havel of Arlington Heights, Nick Holmes of Elmhurst and Brandon Mull of Chicago will represent area men at the race. Havel and Holmes both qualified as a result of achieving “B” standards in the half marathon, with Havel running a 1:04:27 at the Chevron Houston Half Marathon Jan. 17, the last possible day for to run a Trials-qualifying time, and Holmes running a 1:04:28 at the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon on Jan. 3. Male athletes had to run a 1:05 half marathon or faster to qualify for the Olympic Trials.
Brandon Mull’s 2:18:14 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 13, 2013 gained him entry into the Olympic Trials after USATF relaxed the men’s “B” standard for marathon times from 2:17 to 2:19 in December. Mull was the eighth American male across the finish line in Chicago that year.
Though no longer Chicago area residents, Schaumburg native Patrick Rizzo and Woodstock native Dan Kremske will also run the race on Feb. 13.
The majority of Illinois women running in the Olympic Trials qualified through their performance in marathons. Tera Moody has the fastest time of area female qualifiers, boasting a 2:39:32 from last year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Jenelle Deatherage of Dunlap also ran a sub-2:40 last year, crossing the finish line at Grandma’s Marathon on June 20 in 2:39:59 to punch her ticket to the Trials. Amber White of Naperville, Kristen Heckert of Bolingbrook and Lauren Kersjes of Downers Grove qualified with a 2:42:09, a 2:42:32 and a 2:44:28, respectively.
Kristina Aubert will also represent local athletes at the Trials. Aubert, a newcomer to the local racing scene, ran a 1:14:57 at the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon on Nov. 7, 2015, just three seconds faster than the 1:15 cutoff for qualification.
Lauren Fog, who grew up in Harvard and now lives in Boulder, Colorado, will also run the Trials.
The U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the marathon will take place in cooperation with the Los Angeles Marathon, which will run on Feb. 14. The men’s race kicks off at 10:06 a.m. PST (12:06 p.m. Central), and the women will start 16 minutes later at 10:22 a.m. PST (12:22 p.m. Central). For the first time ever, NBC will provide live coverage starting at 12 p.m. Central time.
To see a full list of competing athletes and learn more about the Trials, visit www.usatf.org.