HOUSTON Nearly 300 runners were in downtown Houston on Saturday trying to earn a spot in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
The top three men and three women will represent the U.S. in the games.
For the men, 36-year old Meb Keflezighi ran his best marathon time ever to finish first. Keflezighi ran an unofficial time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and seven seconds with pre-race favorite Ryan Hall coming in second, finishing just under 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Abdi Abdirahman rounded out the top three, also finishing the marathon in under 2:10. It marked the first time in U.S. trials history that all three qualifiers finished under 2 hours and 10 minutes in the same event.
Dathan Ritzenhein came in fourth, potentially becoming the alternate for the U.S. men s team.
On the women s side, Shalane Flanagan won the trials on Saturday to qualify for her third Olympic Games. Desiree Davila finished second and Kara Goucher was third to make up the team that will represent the U.S. in London.
The 30-year-old Flanagan covered the course in 2 hours, 25 minutes and 38 seconds, an Olympic trial record. The trial was her second marathon and first since she was the runner-up in New York in 2010.
The 28-year-old Davila, the runner-up in Boston last year, finished in 2:25.55. She is set to make her Olympic debut.
The 33-year-old Goucher trains with Flanagan in Oregon and finished Saturday s race in 2:26.06. She ll compete in her second Games after running in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races in Beijing.
In addition to a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, Keflezighi and Flanagan will each take home $50,000 for winning the race.
The marathon started in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center, the hub of Houston Marathon race weekend activities, and ended in the same spot. The men and women started at 8:00 a.m. and 8:15 a.m., respectively, and completed a 2.2-mile inner loop through the heart of downtown Houston.
Participants then ran anouter eight-mile loop three times to complete the 26.2-mile marathon.
The course was different than the one that runners will take for the Chevron Houston Marathon on Sunday because the U.S. Olympic Committee wanted a race like the one that will be run in London.
On Sunday, about 28,000 runners will run through downtown for the Chevron Houston Marathon. The marathon committee is asking participants to wear Texans colors to celebrate the franchise s playoff game against the Ravens.
Houston was the first city to host three U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Houston also hosted the women s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 1992. It also became the first city to host both the men s and women s races at the same Olympic Trials Marathon.