Trials And Miles

In two weeks, more than 20,000 runners will start the 31st annual Los Angeles Marathon, navigating the 26.2-mile course from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier along the Pacific Ocean.

It will be the Super Bowl for runners.

Running USA will host its annual conference in the days leading up to the race, and most notably, the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials will be held on the day before the regular marathon.

The Trials will be run on a separate spectator-friendly course — four loops allow fans to view the race from multiple spots along the way and watch the best distance runners in the U.S fight for a spot on the team headed to Rio in August.

This year, both the men’s and women’s races could offer plenty of drama. There’s no talent shortage as both fields offer a list of running all-stars with impressive career accomplishments. Expect fierce competition among the women, and an intriguing story line for the men. Galen Rupp, the best 10K runner in U.S. history, declared last week that he’ll be making his marathon debut at the Trials, which has prompted quite a bit of buzz. But even Rupp, who made the announcement in an exclusive interview with USATF, knows that anything can happen during more than 26 miles of running.

There are no guarantees, especially among a talented field of athletes determined to secure a spot on the U.S. team. It also shouldn’t surprise anyone if one of the lesser-known runners makes some noise. Between the men’s and women’s fields, at least 353 qualifiers have claimed their spot on the Trials’ starting line.

Most of us will never toe the line of a championship race.

In 2014, there were more than 550,600 marathon finishers in the U.S. Meanwhile, there were 455 runners who qualified to run in this year’s Olympic Marathon Trials.

On a personal note, the LA Marathon will offer the chance to watch the best in the U.S. and run one of the country’s largest races. It won’t be fast, but it will be memorable.

And, when it comes down to it, creating memories and enjoying the steps along the way are the reasons to keep running mile after mile.

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