700. Jess McClain’s 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Recap


“I had the time of my life out there. I soaked it all in.”

So often, the fourth-place finisher at any given Olympic Trials is the most devastated of the day. The person who came closest to the podium, and was the first not to make the team. But at this year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon, Jess McClain changed the narrative. The self-coached, unsponsored, agent-less runner shocked fans with her fourth-place finish and four-minute personal best, finishing in 2:25:46. In this conversation, Jess — who is the executive director of the Love Up Foundation and is a freelance marketing consultant — talks about how she made it happen.

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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • Jess’s emotions a few days post-Trials (2:55)
  • On Jess’s approach to the Trials (4:45)
  • Does Jess want a coach, an agent, a sponsor? (7:20)
  • Jess’s snapshot moment from the day (11:30)
  • How the race played out (22:15)
  • When Jess knew she was in fourth place (29:00)
  • What it means to be the official Team USA alternate (30:40)
  • How Jess trained for the Trials (36:20)
  • On Jess’s work with the Love Up Foundation (38:55)
  • What Jess decided to wear on race day (44:15)
  • How Jess found the confidence to go for it (50:35)

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