Friday, December 23, 2011

Jen Rhines on the Upcoming US Olympic Marathon Trials

Jen Rhines for the first time speaks openly about her DNF at the New York City marathon in November -- her first marathon in 5 years -- and her surprising decision to compete in the upcoming USA Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston on January 14th. She competed in the 2004 US marathon trials, where she finished 3rd and made Team USA. She finished 34th at the Olympics that year, in 2:43:52. Overall, Jen has competed in three previous Olympic Games for the USA: over 10,000 meters in 2000, the marathon in 2004, and over 5000 meters in 2008. Jen has indicated for well over a year that her intention for 2012 was to attempt to make the US team at 10,000 meters. Inasmuch as she has not completed a marathon since 2006, and given her recent DNF in New York, Jen would have to be considered a long shot to make the marathon squad this time. Rhines has a marathon PR of 2:29:32 (good for 4th place at the 2006 Rome Marathon).

Running the marathon trials next month does not, of course, preclude an attempt to make the team at 10,000 meters. That race will be held at the Olympic Trials on June 22nd in Eugene, Oregon. Her coach and husband (and former Villanova All-American) Terrence Mahon recently explained the decision to give it a go in Houston: "She's running. . . . We trained her to run New York in November off her track season, but I don't think we timed it right. She didn't adapt quickly enough. She wanted to give it another try, and I thought, 'Okay, let's run the Marathon Trials.' Her primary goal is still to run on the track in London. She's not going to race as aggressively as the other two [Mammoth TC competitors, Deena Kastor and Amy Hastings]. But if she runs smart and makes the Olympic Team, great. If she gets close to the third-place runner in the last six miles, that's not going to be good for the woman in third. But for Jen it's not an all-or-nothing situation the way it is for Deena."

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