Q & A with Stan Linton

By David Yon
  • How long have you had a goal of qualifying for the Olympic trials?

Since 2016. When I completed my undergraduate degree at FSU.  I returned to the road racing circuit and decided to turn my focus towards the longer races. After my win at the Boston Mini-Marathon in the fall of 2016, I felt like I had a shot at qualifying for the trials.

  • Has your focus (for qualifying for the trials) always been the marathon? Was this your first marathon?

Going through high school and college, I always performed better in the longer events. It was only natural that I step up to the half and full marathon after I graduated college. When I was in college, I discovered that I could handle the high mileage weeks (100mi/week or more), which is essential for the elite marathoner.

  • Please describe your training. Any help from coaches?

My training generally consists of about 90-110 miles a week. I run twice a day on 3-4 of those days. A regular daily run is 10-12 miles, with weekly long runs up to 18-22 miles. Since I left FSU, I’ve been coaching myself using the lessons I learned from my college coach, Bob Braman. I also use methods from Dr. Jack Daniels, Arthur Lydiard, and Chris Wardlaw.

  •  What did you think of Grandma’s Marathon?

The entire experience was overwhelming. Duluth is such an amazing city, and the event itself is legendary. The course is lined with spectators and volunteers for almost the entire 26 miles. The race runs along Lake Superior which makes for a very scenic course. The post-race events were spectacular. I will most definitely go back in the near future.

  • Describe how you ran? Conditions? Splits? I note your half split was 1:09:28. If I double that number, I get 2:18:56. You finished in 2:18:43 so very even negative split, right. (It appears it took 4 seconds to cross the line.) I assume you had your eye on 1:19:00 – the QT – all the way.

I went into the race with the goal of running sub-2:19 and qualifying for the trials. I set goal times for 6 miles, 10 miles, 16 miles, and 20 miles. If I was able to hit these checkpoints, then I would be in a great position for the last 10K. The weather, course, and field were ideal for race conditions When the race started, the first few miles felt effortless. I really had to hold back the first 10 miles. I made it to halfway in 1:09:28 and felt great. Miles 13-20 were the best miles in the race. I made it to 20 miles with plenty of time to spare, but during the last 10K I felt the wheels coming off. I kept asking myself “How much longer do I have.” When we got into the city of Duluth, I started to count the minutes. With 2 miles to go I was getting concerned, but once I got to mile 25, I knew I had it if I could just stay on my feet. Every minute in the last mile was a small victory. I turned onto the last straightaway, looked up at the clock, and realized that I just qualified for the Olympic Trials.

  • What does it mean to you to qualifying for the trials?

I have dreamed of this moment for years. Growing up, I never thought I was talented in athletics. In sports I was picked last for teams, sat on the bench, and was never an impact player. When I got involved in running, I found a sport that I could excel in regardless of inherent ability. I could work my way to the top. This was the culmination of a decade of hard work, determination, and perseverance. Along the way, I was able to meet and run with hundreds of people, most of which I can call friends. This was mostly for them too, because each of these individuals directly or indirectly had an influence on my running career. Finally, this means so much to me because of what I can bring back to my family, Wakulla County, Tallahassee, the Gulf Winds Track Club, Florida State, and the United States Navy.

  • And just when and where are the trials?

The Olympic Trials will be held on February 29th 2020 in Atlanta, GA. The top three individual finishers will qualify for the Olympic Marathon in Tokyo. Those individuals must also run the Olympic Standard of 2:11:30 to qualify.

  • Will the Navy sponsor you?

The Navy has been so supportive of my running over the years, but I’m unsure if they will sponsor me at this time. The All-Navy Sports program provides travel and gear to runners competing in the U.S Cross Country Championships and Marine Corps Marathon, so I imagine there will be similar support for the trials, but I’m unsure at this point.

  •  Now that you have made the trials, what are your goals? Making the Olympic team would require you to run a 2:11:30 and finish in the top three.

Since I don’t have the 2:11:30 qualifying time yet, my goal for the 2020 trials is to do my best. If that ends up being 3rd place or 30th place, I’ll be pleased with the result. My goal for the next two trials (2024 and 2028) is to be a contender. The goal each year is to move forward, stay healthy, and have fun during the process.

  • Who are some of your role models and people who have had a big impact on your running?

My biggest role models in running include Carlos Lopes, Rob De Castella, Frank Shorter, and Steve Prefontaine.  The folks that have made the biggest impact on my running are: Paul Hoover, Bob Braman, Gary Droze, and Herb Wills. Each of these four individuals offered me guidance and inspiration on my journey from an unknown high school athlete to an Olympic Trials Qualifier.

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