Feb 28, 2020

The Women's Contenders: 5 Through 1

With one day left until the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon, we're breaking down the top five contenders, based on qualifying time, who head to the start line tomorrow at noon. Below, see the top five women entered into the race.


Residence: Eugene, OR
Hometown: Marakwet, Kenya
Age on Race Day: 34

Best OTQ: 2:25:10 (Berlin, 2019)
Olympic Marathon Trials History: Debut

Claim to Fame: While still competing for Kenya, Kipyego won a silver medal at 10,000m at both the 2012 Olympics and 2011 IAAF World Championships. She was almost a double medalist in the 2012 Games, finishing 4th at 5000m.

A 9-time NCAA Champion and the first woman in NCAA Div. 1 history to win three consecutive cross country titles, Kipyego had a stellar pro track career before shifting to the marathon: in her debut at the distance, she finished second at the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon. Later, she discovered that she was four weeks’ pregnant at the time with her daughter, Emma, who was born in July 2017 – six months after Kipyego had become a U.S. citizen in January of that year. Maternity and a bout of malaria kept her from major racing until January 2019, when she finished 13th in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, but then cramping in her quads forced her to DNF in Boston. Finally, in September 2019, she completed her second marathon, a PB and OTQ, in Berlin.


Residence: Flagstaff, AZ
Hometown: Sussex, WI
Age on Race Day: 33

Best Qualifying Performance: 2:24:29
Olympic Marathon Trials History: 2016, 6th

Claim to Fame: In 2016, Taylor finished sixth in the marathon Trials and fourth – just missing the team for Rio – at 10,000m. (She also ran the 5000m). She won the 2018 Grandma’s Marathon in 2:24:29, a course record.

After finishing third at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships in the mile just before graduating from Wichita State, Taylor signed on with McMillan Elite in Flagstaff only to discover that she was pregnant. They held her spot, and after her husband, Kyle, returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan they relocated and Taylor’s gradual rise in distance began. She ran the 2012 Olympic Trials on the track before her surprising 2:28:40 at the 2015 Chevron Houston Marathon stamped her (now with HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite) as a possible contender at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials; this year she is seen as a serious threat. Outside of running, she and husband, Kyle, have a 9-year-old daughter, Kylyn, and are active as foster parents. She has also completed her certification to become a firefighter.


Residence: Providence, RI
Hometown: Chesterfield, MO
Age on Race Day: 28

Best OTQ: 2:23:08
Olympic Marathon Trials History: Debut

Claim to Fame: In 2017, ran the fastest half marathon debut by an American woman (1:08:21), and in 2018 ran the fastest American marathon debut ever on a record-eligible course (2:23:08). She’s also a two-time USATF Champion (2016, 10K; 2018, 5K).

A two-time NCAA Champion and the 5000m record-holder for Providence College, Sisson has competed for Team USA on two IAAF World Championships teams at 10,000m and is making her U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon debut. In 2019, Sisson arguably had the best year of any distance runner from the U.S., kicking it off with a 1:07:30 at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, just five seconds off training partner Molly Huddle’s American record, and following that up in March with a 10,000m win at Stanford that made her the third-fastest U.S. woman in history. The next month, she ran her 2:23:08 in London despite falling on both knees while jogging before the race.


Residence: Flagstaff, AZ
Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA
Age: 36

Best OTQ: 2:22:16
Olympic Marathon Trials History: 2016, DNF

Claim to Fame: Her 2:22:16 in Berlin was the fastest marathon by an American woman in 2019. This will be her fifth Olympic Trials, in which she has competed at three different distances on the track and in the marathon.

One of the most versatile runners in the sport, Hall has won a gold medal at the Pan Am Games in the steeple and USATF titles at distances from the mile (2011) to the marathon (2017). Known as a prolific racer who thrives on short turnarounds, Hall finished as top American at the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships just 13 days after running her marathon debut. In the fall of 2015, Hall and husband Ryan (the fastest U.S. marathoner in history and her coach) adopted four sisters from Ethiopia: Hana, now 19; Mia, 16; Jasmine, 12; and Lily, 9. Hana has since won several Arizona state high school titles. In 2009, the couple founded the Hall Steps Foundation to fight world poverty through better health. She comes to Atlanta among the favorites, and recently ran a half marathon PB of 1:08:58.


Residence: Arroyo Grande, CA
Hometown: Arroyo Grande, CA
Age on Race Day: 28

Best OTQ: 2:20:57 (Chicago, 2017)
Olympic Marathon Trials History: Debut

Claim to Fame: Her 2:20:57 marathon PB is not only the fastest in the field, but the second-fastest ever for an American woman.

A two-time Footlocker Cross Country Champion, Hasay was a high school phenom who set nine national records and competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials at 1500m before she had her diploma. After an 18-time All-American career at the University of Oregon, she embarked on a pro career that fell short of expectations on the track but took off like wildfire when she and then-coach Alberto Salazar switched focus to the marathon distance after Hasay didn’t make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team at either 5000m or 10,000m. In April 2017, her 2:23:00 (good for 3rd place) at Boston was the fastest debut ever by an American woman, and she followed that up with a 2:20:57 3rd place in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon later that year – making her the second-fastest American woman of all time. Stalled by surgery for a foot injury in 2018, she returned in time to finish 3rd again at the 2019 Boston Marathon, but later last year dropped out in the early miles of Chicago after tearing a hamstring. Late in 2019, she announced that Paula Radcliffe would serve as her coaching advisor.