For the second year in a row the California International Marathon played host to the US Marathon Championships, and for the second year in a row ZAP Fitness athletes turned in superb performances.

In 2017 ZAP athletes Johnny Crain and Nicole DiMercurio punched their tickets to the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials at CIM, and in 2018 the quintet of Joe Stilin, Josh Izweski, Andrew Colley, Joanna Thompson, and Matt McClintock did the same. All four of theZAP men were making their debut while Joanna was running her first marathon that wasn’t in the 80-degree sun of the 2016 Olympic Trials or the driving rain of the 2018 Boston Marathon.

The race began at 7:00am Sunday morning under the calm 38-degree weather of Folsom, CA. In the early stages of the men’s race the ZAP athletes occupied spots in the 3rd pack of the 100 person elite field. As the opening miles clicked by Stilin and Izewski moved into the main chase pack as it slowly swallowed up the 2 smaller groups of runners in front of them. McClintock and Colley ran together in a group of runners who were roughly 1 minute behind at the main chase pack at the halfway mark. Stilin and Izewski reached halfway in 1:06:44 with McClintock and Colley crossing in 1:07:43.

Stilin and Izewski continued to run side by side as the pack dwindled from over a dozen men at halfway to less than 10 as they approached the final 10k. Matt Llano, considered by the race committee as the pre-race favorite, had controlled the race from the start. He had run alone from the gun and began to show signs of slowing with 5 miles to go. Sergio Reyes who had taken off after him early on was beginning to come back to the pack, led by Stilin and Izewski.

Passing mile 23 the pace in the chase pack began to quicken and the pack strung out in pursuit of the top 3 positions. Brogan Austin would go on to catch Llano with less than a half mile to go to win in 2:12:38 while Llano would hang on to 2nd place in 2:12:59.ZAP’s Izewski emerged from the pack to finish 3rd with a strong final 2 miles in 2:13:14 with teammate Joe Stilin close behind, clocking 2:13:19 for 4th place.

Andrew Colley ran a perfectly even 2:15:27 to finish 17th while teammate Matt McClintock gutted through hamstring cramps to finish in 2:18:03 and qualify for the Olympic Trials.

In the women’s race Joanna Thompson executed her race brilliantly, clicking off even 6:05 miles early on to cross the halfway mark in 1:19:46. Flashing her trademark thumbs up in the early stages of the race Thompson looked strong well into the latter stages of the race. Despite slowing slightly over the final 2 miles Thompson crossed the line in 2:42:26 to click a 6-minute PR and qualify for her 2nd Olympic Marathon Trials.

After the race the team had a great time connecting with the rest of ZAPNation at Burgers and Brew to celebrate several PR’s and Boston qualifiers!

Nicole will be toeing the line this weekend at the Dallas Half Marathon. She won this race a year ago and will be looking for a repeat performance this year. The race starts at 8:30am on Sunday morning. You can find all the race info here. 

For Full Coverage of the US Marathon Championships click here.