Augustus Maiyo graduated from the University of Alabama and has been running since 2002. He serves in the US Army and is a full-time marathon runner. He started running because all of his friends were running at that time. Maiyo has run 8 marathons since 2012 and his most recent marathon was during the 2020 US Olympic Trials in Atlanta, where he
placed 5th, in a personal best of 2:10:47.
What race did you qualify for the Olympic trials and what was the moment like?
Last year, I ran two marathons and qualified for the US Olympic trials in both. The first race was in Boston, where I ran 2:13, and the other one was at the Pan American games, where I ran 2:12. In both races, I didn't feel too much excitement, even though I ran my personal best at the time, because qualification times had recently changed to 2:11:30, in order to meet the Olympic standard time, so I was disappointed and demoralized.
Describe the experience competing against the best marathon runners in the United States.
Coming to Atlanta, I knew I was in great shape and running at a high level of fitness, but I didn't think that I was going to run that fast on that day because of the tough course. When the race started, I just wanted to be near front so that I wouldn't miss my hydration bottle. I knew the hydration table was coming up at the 2 mile marker and I wanted to get mine before the other 200+ runners did. I enjoyed running up in the front of the pack with the likes of Abdi, Osman and Galen Rupp. Running next to Abdi is motivation in itself, and I am happy he made his fifth team. Abdi and Osman were nice enough to let me in the pack and mix up the pace. At some point around mile 18, I got too excited and lost focus, almost forgetting to pick up my hydration bottle. I think Rupp realized I went back to pick-up my bottle because it seems like he picked up the pace. The pack tried to close up on him, but it never happened, and he won the race.
What lessons did you take away from the race?
I took a couple lessons from this race; one is my training plan is working. Second, I belong up there at the front with the elites, and third, it's important to not get distracted during the middle of the race, especially around the last two hydration tables. These last two tables are where experienced marathoners make their moves.
How did you finish compared to your expectations?
I exceeded my expectation, though early in the season, while talking with Hillary Bor, one of my teammates, I thought I could make the top 6, and I was happy to accomplish that goal.
What are your goals for the rest of the year?
My goals are to start a new training phase and focus on what worked for me. Training is always giving one hundred percent and has been my key to success.
What does your weight training consist of and which exercise do you feel helps your running the most?
At WCAP, we have gym sessions twice a week. Most of the time, we focus on working the lower body with exercises. For me, I like to work my glutes because I was injured before and want to stay healthy.
What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?
The weirdest thing happened this weekend during the Olympic trials. The pack was exchanging taking the lead with guys like Abdi, Osman and anyone else willing to lead. Rupp took the lead at around mile 17 or so, and I wanted him to push harder, so the four of us could get a huge lead. I thought if we were top four, we should help each other out and battle it out knowing three of us would make the team, but not be concerned with getting caught from behind. As a former champion, I knew Rupp had a chance to win, but I thought if things got bad for me, I would still be top four. Rupp tried to slow the pace down, and I went to his side and said hey, let's work together and help the pack. However, he just smiled and didn’t say anything. Eventually, I went to front and started pushing the pace, but unfortunately could not hold the lead. That was my strategy and I have to say Rupp followed his plan and was successful.
What's your biggest fear?
The fear of running into that invisible brick wall at mile 23 during marathon race.
What's it like to represent the Army on one of the biggest stages?
I am humbled and thankful every day for the chance to represent The United States Army and contribute to the Army the best I can. When you wear that uniform, you represent something bigger than yourself. I know I represent everyone else, including those who served before me and those who are serving on deployments. When I was put on that stage with those stellar athletes, I was filled with excitement and I wanted to run with complete pride in the that Army singlet. The uniform represents strength and calls for 100% commitment in everything we do.
Do you like ice baths?
No, I don’t like ice baths, they're too cold for me and I can’t handle it for more 2 seconds.
When it comes to running, what would you say is your biggest strength and weakness?
I think my recent biggest strength is my “patience” while running those easy long runs and my recent weakness is “wanting to do more mileage” even though I know I don’t need it. It’s not always easy to be disciplined and run those 2 hour easy runs at the pace that is not your regular pace.
Who is someone you look up to in the sport?
A Peruvian marathoner call Cristhian Pacheco, I ran against him during the 2019 Pan American games and he beat me by running 2:09. I was impressed with the way he did it.
Did you ever imagine you'd be where you are today in the sport?
No, if it was not for the Army I would not be running today. The Army has given me a tremendous opportunity and I am forever thankful for that.
What's next for you?
I am an alternate for the US marathon team in Tokyo, but for the time being I will be looking forward to running a couple of races including the 2020 Boston and New York Marathon.
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