The On ZAP Endurance team got a chance to preview the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials course this past Saturday at the Road to Gold 8 mile race in Atlanta. The Atlanta Track Club hosted dozens of Olympic Trials qualifiers on both the men’s and women’s side, including 6 On ZAP Endurance athletes.

Photo by Justin Britton

On the men’s side, Matt McClintock, Josh Izewski, Joe Stilin, and Andrew Colley all competed. The group, who all qualified for the Trials in their marathon debuts at Cal International Marathon in December, ran near each other for much of the race. Stilin and Colley were near the front over the course of the first 2 miles of the race with Izewski tucked in the lead pack and McClintock yo-yoing off the back of the lead group through the ups and downs of the terrain.

As the race progressed, McClintock moved forward and over the 2nd half of the race moved from 17th place to 7th by the finish. He lead the On ZAP Endurance men in 39:04 over the 8 mile distance with Colley, Izewski, and Stilin not far behind in places 9-10-11. McClintock hit halfway in 19:04, meaning his final 4 miles were run in 20:00. The fact that he picked off 10 runners with significantly slower back half shows just how challenging the 2nd half of the course was, and how challenging the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials will be.

On the women’s side, Nicole and Joanna were part of a large lead chase pack over the first 3 miles of the race. As the race progressed through the hills the pack began to spread out with Joanna and Nicole running strongly over the final 2 miles to finish 15th and 22nd.

The course experience will be incredibly helpful in preparing for the 2020 Trials, and the overall feedback was that running 26.2 miles on that course is going to be challenging. The Olympic Marathon Trials will be essentially 4 loops of 6 miles with the final loop consisting of a 2.2 mile addition to reach the 26.2 mile distance. The Road to Gold Race covered 8 miles of 8.2 mile final loop.

Next up for the On ZAP Endurance team will be the Oskar Blues 4 Mile race this coming Saturday in Asheville, NC where Johnny and ZAP training partner, Pardon will be competing. The following weekend Nicole will be defending her title at the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.