On Saturday, 685 individual athletes qualified for and competed in the USATF Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Georgia. Of those 685, at least 13 grew up in Missouri and represented the state in the prestigious event.
In order to qualify for the Trials, the athletes foremost had to either meet the 'A' Standard or 'B' Standard. The 'A' Standard for the men was 2:15:00 and 2:37:00 for the women. To meet the 'B' Standard, athletes had to run better than 2:19:00 or 2:47:00. These marks had to come between September 1, 2017 and January 19, 2020.
Athletes could also qualify with a half marathon under 1:04:00 for the men or 1:13:00 for the women. Those marks had to come between September 1, 2018 and January 19, 2020.
Time qualifiers only the way an athlete could qualify for the Trials, though. They could also qualify by being a part of the 2016 US Olympic Marathon team, winning the 2017 or 2018 USATF Marathon, finishing in the top 6 at the 2019 USATF Marathon, winning the 2018 or 2019 USATF Running circuit, or finishing top 3 in the IAAF Marathon championship.
Thirteen athletes who grew up here in Missouri toed the line on Saturday and competed admirably for their home state.
Kevin Colon, a graduate of Lee's Summit West and former state champion, qualified for the Trials with his 2:18:12 mark at the last-chance 2020 Houston Marathon. On Saturday, he finished 106th in 2:25:21.
2014 Kickapoo High School graduate Quinlan Moll snuck under the 'B' Standard for the Trials with his 2:18:56 mark at the 2019 Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. The University of Missouri-Kansas City alum and Kansas City Track Club member finished 142nd in 2:30:29.
2016 Olympic Marathon Bronze Medalist Galen Rupp would go on to win the event in 2:09:20 with Boulder Track Club's Jake Riley running a personal best 2:10:02 for 2nd and 43-year-old Abdi Abdirahman earning his unprecedented fifth Olympic Marathon berth, finishing a close 3rd in 2:10:03.
Former Incarnate Word Academy soccer star Julia Kohnen, now running under the guidance of Jason Holroyd and the Go! St. Louis Racing Team, hung in the top pack for much of the first 18 miles of the race before finishing as the top Missourian in 10th with a personal best time of 2:30:43.
Kohnen began her running career at the University of Southern Indiana where she was a four-time NCAA Division II All-American. She ran an eye-popping 2:31:29 at the 2019 Twin Cities Marathon, winning the race and qualifying for the Trials with an 'A' Standard.
2014 Kearney grad and Missouri State University alum Jessica Allen qualified for the Olympic Trials with a 2:41:34 mark at the 2019 Grandma's Marathon. Now with Kansas City Track Club, she went through 9 miles in 56:25 before dropping out of the race.
Two St. Charles County alumni and teammates both at University of Missouri-Kansas City and now Kansas City Track Club - Chandler Carreon (Wentzville Holt, 2014) and Sarah Fogarty (Ft. Zumwalt West, 2013) - both qualified with 'B' standards of 2:44:23 and 2:44:19 respectively at the 2019 California International Marathon. Both girls gutted out sub 3:00 finishes on a tough course with Fogarty running 2:53:45 and Carreon crossing the line in 2:59:11.
Much has been made over the last few weeks leading up to the Olympic Trials regarding the rise of 2013 Eureka grad and former Mizzou stand out Megan Cunningham. After suffering a severe skull fracture and broken neck in a 2015 car accident, doctors thought Cunningham may never walk again, much less run. But in 2018, she won the Outdoor 5000 meters at the SEC Championships and eventually qualified for the Trials with her 2:41:15 debut mark at last October's Chicago Marathon. While she was unable to finish the race Saturday, her accomplishments up to this point have been nothing short of impressive.
2001 Francis Howell North graduate Jackie Pirtle-Hall will be competing in her first Olympic Trials. A standout in high school and at Lindenwood University, Pirtle-Hall qualified for the Trials with her 2:41:07 at the 2018 Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. She ran was unable to finish on Saturday after dropping out at Mile 18.
Former Parkway Central State Champion and 2-time NCAA Division 1 National Champion while at Providence College Emily Sisson came into the race as a heavy favorite for a top three finish.
Sisson competes professionally for New Balance while living in Providence, Rhode Island and qualified for the Trials with her 2:23:08 at the 2019 London Marathon. Sisson's collegiate and professional career has been illustrious as she still holds the NCAA record in the indoor 5000 meters, holds the American record for the fastest debut half and full marathons, and her personal best half marathon of 1:07:30 is a mere 5 seconds off the overall American record.
Saturday, Sisson did not finish the race, unfortunately, after dropping out after Mile 21.
2011 Ladue grad Jocelyn Todd, now competing for Oiselle and residing in Salt Lake City, Utah, ran 2:36:33 at the 2018 California International Marathon. The University of Utah Ph. D. student did not finish on Saturday.
Carrie Mack (Vestal), a Parkview 2004 graduate, also competed on Saturday. She hit the 'A' Standard with a 2:36:36 at the 2019 Twin Cities Marathon. On Saturday, she ran 2:42:27 for 72nd.
Several athletes coached by Big River Running Company co-founder Ben Rosario, now with Northern Arizona Elite in Flagstaff, Arizona, competed in the Trials, headlined by Aliphine Tuliamuk who finished first in 2:27:23, clinching a berth. Molly Seidel earned second in 2:27:31, her debut marathon. Sally Kipyego hung on for third in 2:28:52.