Orlando, Florida – Fiona O’Keeffe made a remarkable debut at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando, smashing the previous record by more than three minutes. O’Keeffe’s impressive performance secured her a spot at the Paris Olympics this year as she crossed the finish line in 2:22:10, breaking the record set in 2012. Emily Sisson and Dakotah Lindwurm also secured their places on the American women’s team for Paris.
In the men’s race, Conner Mantz finished first with a time of 2:09:05, narrowly beating his training partner Clayton Young. Leonard Korir took third place and will now await confirmation of his qualification for the team.
O’Keeffe’s victory was a highlight of the event, as she became the youngest-ever winner of the women’s trials and the first woman to win the event on her marathon debut. Despite facing a high-quality field, she pulled away from her competitors after the 18-mile mark, finishing 32 seconds ahead of Sisson.
O’Keeffe shared her emotions with reporters after the race, expressing excitement and nerves as she approached the finish line. She acknowledged the strong competition and the voices cheering her on to Paris, revealing that she felt the pressure of the talented women racing behind her.
The competitiveness of the women’s field meant that some strong contenders were left out, with Sara Hall finishing fifth and Keira D’Amato dropping out after mile 20. On the men’s side, Mantz and Young, with the two fastest qualifying times, secured their places in Paris, with Korir also likely to join them.
Overall, the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando showcased remarkable performances and fierce competition, setting the stage for an exciting Olympic marathon event in Paris later this year.