By Abigail Hintz
Cedarville alumni Joe Niemiec and Katie Ruhlman competed in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Feb. 29 in Atlanta, Georgia. Only the top three men and women qualified for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, and neither alum qualified. However, they both put up impressive performances.
The weather added some difficulty to the course. Though temperatures were in the upper 40s, winds got up to 20 mph.
Niemiec finished with a time of 2:27:50. He placed 123rd out of 175 runners in the male division, averaging 5:39 minutes per mile. He stayed consistently around or under a 5:30 mile split until mile 16 when he clocked a 6:00 mile. From then on he hovered around the 6:00 mark. His best split came in mile ten which he ran in 5:09.
Ruhlman ran a 2:51:45, which was around her average time for races in 2019. She finished 256th out of 390 runners. A downhill final mile gave Ruhlman a significant surge, but she clearly kicked up the intensity as well as she it was her fastest mile at 5:28. She averaged 6:34 miles per minute during the race.
The third place spot in the men’s race was a heartbreaker as the fourth place finisher, Leonard Korir came in just .03 seconds after the third place finisher.
In order of finishing, the three men going to Tokyo to represent Team USA are Galen Rupp (2:09:20), Jacob Riley (2:10:02) and Abdi Abdirahman (2:10:03). Abdiraham is a five-time Olympian, and the oldest runner to make a U.S. marathon team.
The women who qualified for Tokyo are Aliphine Tuliamuk (2:27:23), Molly Seidel (2:27:31) and Sally Kipyego (2:28:52). Fourth place finisher Des Linden (2:29:03) won the 2018 Boston Marathon and was favored to make the Olympic team but was surprisingly unable to.
The 2020 Olympic Games will begin July 24 in Tokyo, Japan.
Abigail Hintz is a sophomore journalism major and Digital Editor for Cedars. She loves reading, playing Spikeball with her friends and watching soccer 24/7.