Americans aim for World Championships in Athletics marathons – Outside Online
When elite runners from around the world took to the start of the men’s and women’s marathons at the World Championships in Athletics on July 17 and 18, respectively, in Eugene, Oregon, Colin Mickow and Sara Room might have the best stories of the bunch.
Tune in for the men’s race at 6:15 a.m. PT on Sunday, July 17 and the women’s race at 6:15 a.m. on Monday, July 18. Both will be broadcast live. on NBC Sports platforms.
Mickow is a 32-year-old full-time financial analyst for an organic food distribution company and unsponsored elite runner from suburban Chicago who admits he didn’t really like running when he was younger and that he actually walked away from the sport after a modest college. Hit. Hall, 39, is a longtime ASICS-sponsored professional who has become one of the most accomplished long-distance runners of her generation after an All-American career at Stanford.
As Hall nears the swansong of her career, she is still among the sport’s elite – as evidenced by her (since broken) American record of 1:07:15 in the half marathon in January and her record staff of 2:20:32 in the marathon. late 2020 – Mickow is just beginning to find success in the marathon after running his first less than three years ago.
“It wasn’t something I expected,” says Mickow, who holds a personal best of 2:11:22 from The Marathon Project run in 2020. “After college, I just went to get a normal job in finance that’s what I graduated from I wasn’t getting calls from anyone to pay to run after college so I just worked and stayed in decent shape. When I started running more and I did this first half-marathon, I said to myself: “I will try to win some small local races”. It would be fun.’ But it obviously became something more than that.
The men’s race will start at 6:15 a.m. PT on July 17, while the women’s race will start at 6:15 a.m. the following day. Both will be broadcast live on NBC Sports platforms.
Mickow will be joined on the U.S. team by Galen Rupp, who won bronze in the marathon at the 2016 Olympics and placed eighth last year in Tokyo, and 39-year-old Kenyan-born Elkanah Kibet ( 2:11:15) from Colorado. Springs, who placed 15e at the 2017 world championship marathon in London. For Rupp, a native of Portland, Oregon and with a personal best of 2:06:07, the world championship marathon will be one of the fitting final stages of a long and illustrious career.
Hall, who trained in Crested Butte, Colorado, leads a powerful USA women’s team that also includes 29-year-old Emma Bates (Boulder, Colorado), who finished second in the Chicago Marathon the last fall 2:24:20, and 37 years old Keira D’Amato (Richmond, Va.), who relaunched her career in her mid-30s after taking time off to start a family and work. D’Amato, who broke the American record with a breakthrough time of 2:19:12 in January, was only named to the USA team two weeks ago after the Olympic bronze medalist of the year last Molly Seidel withdrew due to a hip injury.
“Obviously a medal would be an absolute dream come true,” Hall said. “It’s the kind of thing I dream about. On paper, I’m not a favorite for a medal, but I’ve found this to be a prep meeting opportunity, and that’s what it’s going to take for me to pull through.
The men’s favorite is Ethiopia Lelisa Desisa (2:04:45)the reigning world champion from the 2019 world championships in Doha (2:10:48), as well as a former winner in New York and Boston.
His Ethiopian teammates Tamirat Tola (2:03:38), Mosinet Geremew (2:04:00) and Seifa Toura (2:04:29) should also be in contention, as well as Kenyans Lawrence Cherono (2:03:04) and Geoffrey Kamworor (2:05:23), Ugandans Jackson Kiprop (2:08:28), from Japan Kengo Suzuki (2:04:56), from Brazil Daniel Do Nascimento (2:04:51) and Dutch rider Abdi Nageeye (2:04:56).
Ruth Chepngetich, the 2019 world champion with a personal best of 2:17:08, is the favorite among women. The 27-year-old Kenyan set a world record of 1:04:02 at the Istanbul Half Marathon in 2021, won the Chicago Marathon (2:22:31) last fall and the Nagoya Women’s Marathon (2:17:18) this spring.
Her Kenyan teammates Judith Jeptum (2:19:48) and Angela Tanui (2:17:57) are also viable contenders, as are Ethiopians Gotytom Gebreslase (2:18:18), Ababel Yeshaneh (2:20:51 ) and Ashete Bekere (2:17:58), Israeli Lonah Salpeter (2:17:45) and Japanese Mizuki Matsuda (2:20:52).
The course of the marathon of the world athletics championships
The men’s and women’s marathons will take place on a 14 km mostly flat and spectator-friendly loop course which begins and ends at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium while sending runners along parts of the Willamette River and beside Pre’s Trail, a recreational jogging trail dedicated to the American running star Steve Préfontaine.
“My goal is how far can you go and how much can you get out of yourself on race day,” Hall says. “Really being present and enjoying the vibe are the main reasons I’m doing this race, just to experience racing for the United States back home.”
Mickow is the rare example of an elite runner who found his talent in the marathon long after college. He was a successful track and cross country runner for the University of Illinois from 2008 to 2012, but never reached NCAA championships in either sport. He stayed relatively fit once he entered the working world in 2012, but he didn’t compete for six years until he ran a small half-marathon in suburban Chicago in 2018.
In his marathon debut, he achieved a respectable 26e-final place (2:14:55) in the 2019 Chicago Marathon. This effort qualified him for the marathon at the 2020 US Olympic Trials in Atlanta, where he ran a strong race and finished 15e in 2:13:45. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic later that year he lowered his PR to 2:11:22 with a 12e-screening location at the Marathon Project.
He typically logs on 50 hours a week, either from the KeHe Distributors office in Naperville, Ill., or from his home in semi-rural Oswego, on the outskirts of Chicago’s western suburbs. In addition to his work, he often runs 140 to 150 miles a week in training. This typically includes 12-18 miles before dawn before work, then 5-6 miles most days after work, plus long runs of 20-26 miles and weekend marathon-specific training with the Second City Track Club in Chicago.
Mickow isn’t worried he’s not a medal contender, but he’ll be proudly wearing his Team USA jersey and hoping for the opportunity to perform another PR. (And, in theory, anything can happen. At the first world championships, another little-known runner from the University of Illinois, Marianne Dickerson, was the only runner to chase eventual champion Grete Waitz and held on for the silver medal.)
“I was never a big fan of running earlier in my life. I just did it because I was good, but I didn’t like working out that much,” says who is married and has a baby boy named Finn. “I really don’t know what changed in me, but I just started liking him more, especially as I started having success in marathons.”