2016 Men's 50km U.S. Olympic Team Trials Race Walk 2/21/2016--The Road to Rio "Santee, CA" Page 1 of 6

Hot weather has been the order of the day for endurance events in California during the past year. Leading up to this event, there had been a brief cooling trend, but the weather gods decided otherwise. The Marathon Olympic Team Trials in Los Angeles occurred the previous weekend with temperatures reaching the mid 70s by noon. This event's forecast was for cool overnight lows in the mid 40s with daytime highs into the high 70s. The day looked to be sunny with mild winds. And sure enough, it was in the mid 40s at the 7:20 a.m. start with temps into the 70s by late morning into the afternoon.

With no tree canopy along the black asphalt city street in Santee along this USATF-certified 50K course, radiant heat brought street-level temps into the 90s. The story of this race became pace sustainability, replenishment sustenance (fluids, electrolytes and energy) and sheer will.

Weather aside, the bottom-line story is if Team USA will have more than one member on the race walk team. Already John Nunn has done an Olympic qualifying time -- less than 4:06:00 (h:mm:ss). He merely needs to finish the 50 km distance and he is on the team. Speaking of the team, there is the distinct possibility of having a second team member with the addition of 24-year-old Nick Christie who raced an eased off 4:11:48 in the USATF 50K Race Walk National Championships on November 22, 2015. Not to belabor the point, the 50K race walk is longest track and field event in the Olympic Games. The sport can brag, but is anyone listening?

Could Nick work with John successfully at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials ? 50K Race Walk or not?

The course features a 1.25 km essentially flat loop that must be navigated 40 times for the 50 km distance. Electronic timing will be accomplished with a mat-detectable D-tag worn on the laces on one shoe of each athlete and an antenna-detectable B-tag on the back of the bib . A row of tables permits each athlete to have a designated individual aid station, besides the always-provided electrolyte and water station on the flip side of the venue.

Reported by Calvin Lau

A chilly and clear morning greeted the 15 starters. Individual aid stations were stocked and maintained by each crew. This was the signature race of the day. A couple of other race walk events -- Women?s 50K national championship and an invitational 20K-- would start soon after.

The pre-race scenario and start looked promising.

Start line set up would be moved to Finish line later.

Race officials are trying to stay warm while getting ready.

Swag for the spectators makes for instant teams.

Team Nunn has high hopes.

Cheerleaders huddle to get warm before the big event.

Pre-race instructions by starter Susan Harris.

On your mark, (BANG).

Starting gun is really traditional.

Race organizer and announcer Tracy Sundlun did a marvelous job.

Favorite John Nunn and Olympic hopeful Nick Christie lead the way.

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