Paul Chelimo, recently opened up about his debut full marathon at the US Olympic trials after an unexpected withdrawal from the race. The Olympic 5000m bronze medallist had high hopes of securing a spot on the Olympic team but faced disappointment in his inaugural marathon.
Chelimo, initially appearing strong in the competition, encountered difficulties around the 12-kilometer mark, leading to his decision to exit the race. Despite the unforeseen challenges, Chelimo took to his Instagram stories to express appreciation for his compatriots who successfully clinched positions on the Olympic team, acknowledging the fierce competition.
“This wasn’t how I envisioned my debut, but I’m confident that the best three made the team. Congratulations to Conner, Clayton, and Lenny,” shared Chelimo. “As you witnessed, I stepped out at around 30km when I realized my chances of making the team were slim, opting to preserve my legs.”
He went on to convey his determination to return to the marathon and hinted at unfinished business in the 10km category. Chelimo extended his thanks to the supportive crowd, emphasizing their pivotal role in his athletic journey.
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In the men’s marathon, Conner Mantz, Clayton Young, and Leonard Korir claimed the top three positions with respective times of 2:09:05, 2:09:06, and 2:09:57. Meanwhile, Fiona O’Keeffe secured victory in the women’s race with a time of 2:22:10, securing her place on the Olympic team. Emily Sisson and Dakotah Lindwurm finished second and third with times of 2:22:42 and 2:25:31, respectively.
Notably, Kenyan-born Americans Betsy Saina and Aliphine Tuliamuk faced challenges and did not complete their respective races. Chelimo expressed gratitude for the tremendous crowd support and hinted at his anticipation to return stronger, reiterating his commitment to both the marathon and the 10km discipline.