He had a race plan and stuck with it.
With 13.1 miles covered, we caught glimpses of him in on the live feed and weren’t surprised to see Scott in the mix.
He settled in, topped off his glycogen stores (ROCTANE Energy Drink Mix and Espresso Love Energy Gels), and stayed focused. Over the next few miles, Scott stayed out of trouble. He let the group slingshot back and forth in a “cat-and-mouse” game as he channeled his own rhythm. The race developed, and by mile 18, Scott was back with the front pack.
Then at the mile 19 mark, he started drifting… ahead of the group!
“Holy ****, I can’t believe I’m leading the ****ing Boston Marathon.”
Scott took the lead during mile 19. With all of Boston and millions of people across the world watching, he was in front of all the elite men, a moment too profound to ignore. A 2:12 American marathoner was leading the Boston Marathon in front of a handful of 2:05 marathoners.
After a few miles of glory, the race wasn’t over. Scott kept himself glued to the front group through 22 miles, exchanging the lead with a dwindling group of men. With 3 miles to go, Scott was left with a few sub-2:05 runners who ramped up the pace to a blistering pace of 4:38 per mile. (Their previous average was around 4:55 per mile.)
Despite not being able to match the faster pace, Scott stayed focused and maintained his cadence, eventually powering through to a 7th place finish… a mere 1 minute and 12 seconds behind the eventual winner.
“It was just a surreal experience to be leading a race I grew up watching on TV – not even just growing up, I watched it on TV the last four years and kind of idolized the race and the experience.”
Scott crossed the line in 2:09:09 – a 3-minute improvement on his previous PR. No matter the ability, running a 3-minute PR in the marathon is a big accomplishment. But when you take three minutes off an already blazing personal best, the world takes notice. Scott dipped into the super-elite, sub-2:10 marathon group… and he is now the 11th-fastest American of all-time.
Why it matters
Scott’s finish as the top American is a big deal for two reasons:
First, he achieved the Olympic standard of 2:11:30, which gives him the credentials needed to be eligible for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He still needs to be a top-3 finisher at the U.S. Olympic Trials in February 2020 to officially qualify for the Olympics, but at this point he is one of only two Americans that have unlocked the entry standard. This allows Scott more flexibility in his training and racing, and it eliminates all pressure of gunning for a fast time at the USA Marathon Trials.
Second, his time of 2:09:09 is a strong mark for American marathoning overall. He holds the second-fastest American marathon time among active runners, only trailing Galen Rupp. In addition, Scott is the youngest among the top 10 Americans in the marathon. He is establishing himself as the poster child of a new, bright chapter in American distance running, hushing the critics of recent years who believe elite American men aren’t good enough to run sub-2:10.
Scott is shaking up the traditional route by which elite American men pursue the marathon. In the past, runners focus on shorter distances early in their careers and gradually increase their distance with age. Scott made the transition to the marathon early. While he had room to grow in shorter distances (he ran 28:00 in the 10K as a 24-year-old), Scott put all his chips in the marathon, and it’s paying off.
And, his training is literally an open book. While many elite runners are enigmatic about their workouts and routines, Scott is completely transparent about everything. He has no secrets. (Check out his recently published guide Inside a Marathon.)
His clear, focused training is balanced by his comedic relief. He can admit when he blows up during workouts. His twitter feed is basically a burrito appreciation account. And he knows how to makes the most out of the dull, sometimes dark side of distance training.
After a well-deserved break, Scott will begin to focus on the Olympic Trials in Atlanta next February. He and his coach Ben Rosario will focus on shorter races in the meantime. In a post-race interview, Ben explained, “I’d like him to race a lot because [at] the Trials there are so many different scenarios.” For the time being, we can count on Scott sharpening his strategies.
We can’t wait to follow the next chapter of Scott’s running career!