The Olympic Marathon Trials hosted by the Atlanta Track Club will be a historic race this February 2020. Special attention is being payed to the women’s race: with 511 female qualifiers, the field more than twice as large as it was in 2016. There is a lot of discussion on the merits or difficulties of hosting such a large Trials, but I wanted to know a bit more about when and where these women actually qualified for the race.
Just over half of the qualifying times come from 2018:
2017: 43 qualifiers
2018: 172 qualifiers
2019: 268 qualifiers
2020: 30 qualifiers
A few major race standouts pop right to the front of the line:
The California International Marathon qualified 36% of the field in it the three races run during the USATF Qualifying window, giving 182 women their ticket to Atlanta. Next up, the Chicago Marathon qualified 53 women, Grandma’s Marathon (Duluth, MN) qualified 51, Houston Marathon qualified 41 with nearly half of those qualifiers getting their full or half marathon time on the very last day of the 2020 qualifying window in January 2020. The Indianapolis Marathon was 5th with 26 marathon qualifiers, largely in 2019.
What do the times look like? Times range from Jordan Hasay’s 2:20:57 (run at the 2017 Chicago Marathon) all the way to exactly 2:45:00. Top times are shown below. Interestingly, 75% of the qualifying times are 2:40 or greater. Eighty three women achieved the “A” standard time (<2:37:00), making up 16% of the field. Incredibly, 25% of the field (127 women) squeezed into the last qualifying minute (2:44-2:45)!
There is ample discussion on women in sport, shoes and equipment, and the apparent surge in interest and capability of US women’s distance running. I hope this conversation grows, continues, and encourages new women runners to form big goals and a lifelong friendship with running.