U.S. Olympic trials marathon contender: Jared Ward

Jared Ward's most recent marathon before the Olympic trials was in 2015 in Los Angeles, where he won the U.S. championship. Luis Sinco/Getty Images

Jared Ward will contend for a spot on the U.S. Olympic marathon team on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles. Here are some fast facts about him.

Marathon PR: 2 hours, 12 minutes, 56 seconds (Los Angeles, 2015)

Best trials qualifier: 2:12:56 (Los Angeles, 2015)

Most recent marathon: third place, 2:12:56, Los Angeles, 3/15/15

Residence: Provo, Utah

Age on race day: 27

Previous Olympic trials results: None

Trials outlook: Ward is no stranger to the streets of Los Angeles or to the hot weather the region can experience. Last year, he won the U.S. championships at the L.A. Marathon in 2:12:56 while temperatures reached the mid-80s.

Training in Provo, Utah, under his Brigham Young University coach Ed Eyestone (a two-time Olympic marathoner), Ward’s qualifying time might not separate him much from a dozen other men of the same caliber. But Ward has proven he can compete successfully under adverse conditions.

In addition to claiming the U.S. marathon title last year, he took first at the U.S. 25K and 20K championships and was second in the half-marathon. He can contend in tactical races, though he is training for pace and said he believes it will take a 2:09–2:10 to make the Olympic team.

“The marathon is funny because the nature of it becomes more of a war of attrition,” he said. “If I can come into this marathon well-prepared, then I go and put my head in there and stay up with the front as long as I can and see what happens.”

Ward’s preparations have been on point, he said, and he is ready to take his swing at a top-three podium position. We wouldn’t count him out, and neither should his competitors.

Fun fact: Ward is a true student of the sport. In April, he earned his master’s degree in statistics from BYU. His thesis was titled, “Optimal Pace Strategy in a Marathon.”