In an interview with USATF.tv, the 29-year-old set in motion what will arguably be the most highly-anticipated marathon debut in U.S. history, as Rupp’s 26:44 10K PR makes him an ideal candidate to compete with the East African heavyweights that have dominated the 26.2 mile event for decades.
Incredibly, even though he'll have just over a month to recover from the pounding of his first marathon, Rupp still plans on running the 3k at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, if he qualifies. With an international competition in his backyard, Rupp wasn't going to miss it.
“Obviously that’s going to be really tough, coming back from a marathon. I’ve got around a month to recover from it. But for it to be here in Portland, there was no way I was going to miss that,” Rupp said.
The plan for Rupp had previously been to move to the marathon after 2016, but after conversations with Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar, who encouraged Rupp to “keep an open mind with it,” the pair ultimately decided to experiment with the training.
“It came up a little sooner than I would have thought. For a long time it was always that I was going to run after the Olympics this summer. After this summer, it really came up in conversations with Alberto,” Rupp told USATF.
Rupp ran a low key half marathon in December to qualify for the Trials, soloing an impressive 61:20 that was the second-fastest by an American in 2015. His PR in the half is from all the way back in 2011, when his 60:30 in New York made him the fifth-fastest American in history.
The ease with which he ran his qualifying time in December, as well as his world class track pedigree, will make him one of the favorites in Los Angeles in two weeks despite his lack of experience. No American man broke 2:10 in all of 2015, and his track speed will give him a huge advantage in the latter miles so long as he can handle the intense grind of an unfamiliar race.