2024 US Olympic Trials Marathon

Fauble Trusts Standard Will Unlock. 'That Time Will Come From Competing.'

Fauble Trusts Standard Will Unlock. 'That Time Will Come From Competing.'

Only two spots are guaranteed for American men in the marathon at the Paris Olympics right now. But if anyone goes 2:08:10 or faster, another one opens up

Feb 2, 2024 by Cory Mull

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Scott Fauble took the microphone on Friday and, rather emphatically, said his peace. 

"I think it'll take a very good performance to make the team," the 32-year-old from Flagstaff said in the press conference ahead of the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday. "It has always taken a good performance. I'm not focused on what that time is. That time will come from competing." 

Fauble, however, does not hold the Olympic standard of 2:08:10. His personal best of 2:08:52 is just shy of that mark. 

And what's more, the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon record has never been that fast. Ryan Hall holds the record with his 2:09:02 from 2008.

With only two guaranteed positions currently allotted for Americans by virtue of Conner Mantz's and Clayton Young's career performances at the Chicago Marathon in October, that means it will take a herculean effort on Saturday to automatically unlock that third bid. Only 80 Olympic bids are available this year, compared to 106 in the delayed 2021 version. 

But Fauble might be the U.S.'s top hope -- and there are other avenues available toward gaining that third spot, anyways.  

He, along with Mantz, Young and Army WCAP's Sam Chelanga, gave statements and answered questions from media on Friday ahead of the race. Galen Rupp, the 4-time Olympian hoping for his fifth qualification, was scheduled to appear but was unavailable. 

Fauble is currently the third-ranked American athlete on the Road to Paris leaderboard at No. 69 overall, along with Teshome Mekonen and Futsum Zienasellassie. Zienasellassie made his marathon debut at CIM in 2022 and then raced Rotterdam last April, clocking a best of 2:09:40. Mekonen, meanwhile, ran 2:10:16 in Berlin. 

While Fauble's Road To Paris position doesn't guarantee him spot at the Olympics in World Athletics' first marathon selections in January -- they will pick the first 64 athletes on Jan. 30 -- it will most likely mean the U.S. will get its third athlete in the final 16 selections in April. 

But Fauble will have to finish in the top three in order to make that happen. 

"It's pretty rare for the U.S. not to send three athletes in every event," Fauble said, adding "The conditions should be such that we will have three people in Paris." 

Not to mention, we can't forget about Rupp. The 37-year-old -- currently No. 72 in the Road To Paris leaderboard -- may not have been in the media sessions on Friday, but he owns a marathon PR of 2:06:07 and enters the festivities from Chicago with his time of 2:08:84. He's also the reigning U.S. Trials champion, having won in Atlanta in 2:09:20.

If the top three men's finishers shake out differently than expectations on Saturday, things could get interesting. The third finisher might not be guaranteed a spot if he doesn't run 2:11:30. 

Which brings us to CJ Albertson. The Hanson-Brooks Distance Project athlete had an epic December, winning two marathons in back-to-back weeks in California and Baja, Mexico, in times of 2:11:09 and 2:11:08, respectively. He's ranked No. 76 on the Road to Paris. 

There are also athletes like Brian Shrader (2:09:46), Paul Chelimo and Abdi Abdirahman who could be in the mix.

The USATF confirmed that it will only take marathoners who have broken 2:11:30 on an eligible course. Orlando's weather, with its high heat and equally pesky humidity, could play an impact on Saturday. 

But Clayton Young, who enters with the second-fastest seed time, downplayed that effect, saying that a percentage of serious marathoners spent time in Orlando acclimating to the conditions and should be prepared to go if and when the humidity and heat begin to climb. 

"I've always had the mentality that, 'It will always be hot on the date,'" said Young, who opted for dark sunglasses inside the tenting on Friday. "I think my history shows I've competed well in the heat. I won the NCAA 10K in June in Austin. It was 90 degrees with 100 degree humidity. It was 9 p.m. and hot." 

Fauble may not have minced words about his feelings about time, but Young seemed to have a chip on his shoulder, too. 

The 30-year-old from Provo, Utah feels like he's underrated. 

"I knew if I could replicate my performance in Chicago that I had a shoot shot at making the team," he said. "As discussions started after Chicago and everyone began saying who's their No. 2, I realized I wasn't making other people's top three. I've embraced that underdog mentality and I'm going to take it all the way to the finish line." 

To Young's right was Conner Mantz, the 27-year-old who ran 2:07.47 in Chicago in October. He commented that rebounded from a small stress reaction after Chicago and that he was ready to go. 

"In a way, it not only gave me a good physical reset but a mental reset," he said. "I'm in a good spot." 

Fauble left Friday's session feeling pretty assured. 

"Tomorrow, it will take under 2;08:10 to make the team. I think people have prepared well enough," he said. "In 2020, it took 2:09. U.S. distance running has improved since then. I think there will be a big enough mass of guys there. The weather is not bad enough to slow people down." 



Date: Saturday, February 3

When: 10:10 a.m. EST

Where: Orlando, Florida (3x loops at 8-miles, 1x loop at 2.2 miles)

How To Watch: Live on Peacock



Oldest Qualifiers Entered: 

Men: Abdi Abdirahman, 47, Tuscon, AZ, via 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team

Youngest Qualifiers Entered: 

Adam Sjolund, 22, Bonney Lake, WA, 2:17:02

Entrants Who Have Qualified For Most Trials: 

Abdi Abdirahman, Fernando Cabada, Sergio Reyes and Galen Rup -- 5 times

State With The Most Men Entered: 

Colorado: 40 

Total Men Qualified: 228

Entrants: 215


2000: Rod DeHaven, 2:15:30

2004: Alan Culpepper, 2:11:42

2008: Ryan Hall, 2:09:02

2012: Meb Keflezighi, 2:09:08

2016: Galen Rupp, 2:11:12

2020: Galen Rupp: 2:09:20