February 3, 2024 – 10:35 AM PST
(Reuters) – Americans Conner Mantz and Fiona O’Keeffe punched their tickets to the Paris Games, the latter in record fashion, by winning their debut appearances at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando, Florida on Saturday.
Mantz completed the mostly flat course in two hours, nine minutes, five seconds, while training partner and close friend Clayton Young finished second with a time of 2:09.06 to also secure an Olympic berth.
Leonard Korir used a late surge to finish third and could still secure a spot on the Olympic team but must wait to see if the U.S. get a third men’s spot via the international rankings.
Twice Olympic medallist Galen Rupp, the most high-profile name in the men’s field, slipped back around the 17th mile and later appeared to be suffering from cramping and could be seen walking along the side of the course.
Marathon debutante O’Keeffe took the women’s race by surprise as she became the first woman to win the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in her marathon debut.
The 25-year-old O’Keeffe finished in 2:22.10, the fastest ever women’s time in U.S. Olympic trials marathon.
Pre-race favourite Emily Sisson, the American record holder in the marathon, and Dakotah Lindwurm finished second and third to round out the three-woman Paris team.
It will be the second Olympics for Sisson after she competed in Tokyo where she finished 10th in the 10,000 metres.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond