Athletics

Galen Rupp and Aliphine Tuliamuk win U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Jacob Riley, Abdi Abdirahman, Molly Seidel, and Sally Kipyego take other spots at Tokyo 2020.

By ZK Goh ·

Rio 2016 marathon bronze medallist Galen Rupp and Kenyan-born Aliphine Tuliamuk have won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in cold and windy conditions in Atlanta, Georgia, to confirm their spots on Team USA at Tokyo 2020.

Rupp won in two hours, nine minutes 20 seconds, repeating his feat from four years ago in Los Angeles.

There was a three-way race to the end for the second and third places, taken by Jacob Riley and Abdi Abdirahman.

Abdirahman will become the oldest Team USA runner in Olympic history at 43 when he attends his fifth Olympic Games this summer. He made his debut at Sydney 2000.

Tuliamuk took victory in the women's race in two hours, 27 minutes 23 seconds.

Molly Seidel finished second. Sally Kipyego, the 10,000 m silver medallist for Kenya at London 2012, took the final spot.

Rupp was 42 seconds clear of Riley and Abdirahman, taking the lead in the 16th mile.

The 32-year-old ran both the 10,000 m and marathon in Rio, but said prior to Trials that he would decide on track events after running in Atlanta.

"It isn't easy to train for 5k, 10k and marathon," he told RunBlogRun, "but for now the aim is to make the team and then we will see how things are going and decide on shorter races closer to the time."

USA Track and Field's Olympic track trials take place in June.

The other race produced the closest finish in women's trials history as Tuliamuk and Seidel, who pulled away from a large pack in the closing miles, were separated by only eight seconds.

Before today, regular half-marathoner Seidel had never run a full marathon. She is also an eating disorder survivor.

Galen Rupp wins the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (Photo: Kirby Lee, USA Today Sports)

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Rupp has had to deal with a turbulent last 18 months or so.

His last finished marathon was the Chicago Marathon in October 2018, and has had Achilles surgery since. Rupp also retired from last year's Chicago race through injury.

"I feel relief, almost, more than anything," Rupp said after crossing the finish line.

"It's been a really long year and a half."

Tuliamuk paid tribute to her adopted country, mentioning the opportunities the U.S. has given her to help her 31 siblings at home in Kenya.

She added: "It was amazing, I actually still don't believe it happened. When we pulled away, Molly and I, I said 'Molly let's go' because I knew I wasn't going to finish it by myself.

"I thought I had went too early. This is just a big day for me and I am so grateful to have won the trials."

Aliphine Tuliamuk wins the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (Photo: Kirby Lee, USA Today Sports)