The dark horse joined the field Friday for today’s U.S. Olympic men’s marathon trials.
As if 26-plus miles and the tension of 135 runners competing for the three available spots on the team for the Summer Games in Atlanta weren’t enough, an unwelcome cold front has moved through the Charlotte, N.C., area.
By race time, 9 a.m. EST, the temperature is expected to be in the low 20s - not exactly the conditions the survivors will see in Atlanta.
But while they’ve trained in similar conditions all winter, Spokane runners Stan Holman and Chris Morlan have no illusions of making the team or claiming any of the $250,000 in prize money. “I don’t have a chance at the top three,” admitted Morlan. “It’s just an honor to be in the same race with these guys.”
Some of those guys would include Arturo Barrios - the fastest qualifier at 2 hours, 8 minutes, 28 seconds - and 1992 Olympian Bob Kempainen, along with 1995 U.S. champion Keith Brantly, Ed Eyestone and Steve Plasencia.
Holman and Morlan have been seeded 75th and 97th, respectively, off their qualifying times.
“But I think in this race, all I’m trying to do is just go out and beat some people,” Holman said.
Given the icy conditions and a hilly course designed to replicate the Olympic layout, the trials race isn’t going to be the quickest marathon of the year.
And Holman said he’s “not expecting a whole lot.
“I’m not real fast right now because I’ve missed some training,” said Holman, who brings a 2:19:54 marathon best into the race. “I was sick for quite a while with bronchitis, I changed jobs and changed to working a swing shift. I’m going to go out and try to run fast and maybe talk my body into it.
“I usually go into a race trying to hit a standard, but I think I’ll forget about time completely and just try to beat some people.”
That’s Morlan’s objective as well, though he claimed to be “probably in as good a shape as I’ve ever been in.
“It’s a chance to beat some pretty good runners,” said Morlan, who has run 2:20:40. “I’m seeded 97th and I think I can finish much higher than that. I’m trying not to be intimidated. There are two groups of runners here - the elite group and the tourists, they call us.”
Four other Washington runners are entered, including former Washington State steeplechaser John Hill. He’s seeded 38th (2:17:44).