Florida sent four athletes to the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles on Saturday. Brian Atkinson, Jeremy Criscione, Jon Mott, and Ashley Brasovan qualified for the 26.2 mile quest with the greatest American distance runners, and a trip to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games this summer on the line.
The fastest finishing time of any Floridian came from Jon Mott. For Mott, who graduated from Northeast High School in St. Petersburg and went onto Webber International University, just making it to L.A. was a journey in itself. The opportunity to race the best was something he'd been chasing since 2012, running in numerous qualifying races around the country, but coming up short. His personal best in college was 02:30:00, but at the 2015 Houston Marathon he ran a personal best of 2:18:12 which was twelve seconds short of the standard. After a rules change that made the minimum entry 2:19:00, Mott was in. To Prepare for the Trials, he says he did a short eight week training cycle.
"I did the Cali International Marathon on Dec 6th which didn't allow me to prepare for this race. Training has been very up and down but I'm feeling ready to roll now. It's going to be a very hot race so being from Florida is an advantage for me. I'm looking forward to racing with the best marathoners in the country. It's something I've been dreaming about doing ever since I graduated from college. This has been my focus for the last 4 years. I living a dream and couldn't be more happier."
Mott's game plan coming in was to take a conservative approach; starting slow and finishing fast. He knew the top three was out of reach, but the main goal was just to be in the race. Of the 206 entrants, Mott had the 78th best time coming in, so when he crossed the line Saturday as the top Florida finisher in 47th (02:27:03), he was very pleased.
"Well, today went very well. I finished 47th overall and 1st Floridian. It may not sound that impressive but considering my pre race seed it was a great day. Beat a lot of good runners. I want to thank everyone for the support I've received. I'm very thankful. Now it's time to recover."
"Well, the race didn't go exactly as I imagined, but if has been a blessing and honor to receive so much support from my family and friends over the past weeks and months. The Lord has blessed me greatly and your prayers and support have reminded me of His faithfulness. Thanks!"
Congratulations to all four of our Florida runners who represented the Sunshine State in L.A.!