Fletcher qualifies for U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

November 8, 2018

Not even a knee injury could stop Aaron Fletcher from qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Fletcher, of South Anchorage High School fame, won the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on Nov. 3 in 2 hours, 17 minutes and 23 seconds, comfortably under the sub-2:19 B Standard requirement for a spot at the 2020 Olympic Trials.

However, Fletcher called the result “bittersweet” as he’d been shooting for the A Standard time of sub-2:15. That bid was compromised as he missed some key training in the six weeks before Indianapolis due to knee pain.

“While I’m really happy to have won and I’m glad I will be on the starting line for the Trials in 2020, I am left thinking what could have been if I hadn’t had so much injury trouble during this build-up,” Fletcher wrote on Facebook.

Despite the injury concerns, Fletcher decided to run 2:15 pace as long as possible and reached halfway right on schedule in 1:07:34.

“After that, the missed training started to show and I gradually started to slow down until I was hanging on for dear life. The last 10K of the race I was seriously suffering,” Fletcher said.

The Salt Lake City resident and Brigham Young University graduate earned $2,200 — $1,200 for the victory plus $1,000 for running under the Trials threshold.

The performance served as redemption from this June’s Grandma’s Marathon in Minnesota, where a disoriented Fletcher was pulled from the course by aid station medical personnel around mile 23.

“I don’t remember much of it. It wasn’t my finest moment!” Fletcher said.

Fletcher’s next big race will be the Boston Marathon in April 2019.

Fletcher holds the fastest time ever by an Alaskan in a half marathon (1:04:06) and second-fastest in the marathon (2:14:45). Both those results came in 2017.

Currently 93 men have qualified for the 2020 Marathon Trials. Fletcher holds the 54th fastest time.

“I know I can run much faster!” Fletcher said.