Top 7 American Marathon Performances from 2017 WMM Races

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Amy Cragg poses after finishing third in the marathon at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.


By James Rogers

If, at the start of 2017, you wished for American marathoners to deliver historic, unforgettable, tear-inducing runs on World Marathon Majors stages throughout the year, then 1) your wish-granted rate ballooned and 2) you should get paid to give wishing advice.

Who woulda thought? An article toward the end of the year ranking several noteworthy American marathon performances from major 26.2-mile races—from the same 365-day span.

TIMEOUT: Wait, what are the World Marathon Majors? Apologies for any confusion caused by “WMM” in the headline. I’ll proceed to give the abbreviated explanation of the WMM: A series of six of the best, most competitive marathons in the world (Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York City) scores points to determine a male and female winner of each cycle, with the winner snatching $500,000. NOTE: Olympics and IAAF World Championships have a say, too. For example, this year, the London World Championships marathon counted as a WMM race.

Point allocation for each race:

  • 1st place — 25 points
  • 2nd place — 16 points
  • 3rd place — 9 points
  • 4th place — 4 points
  • 5th place — 1 point

We are in Series XI (they officially use Roman numerals) of the WMM, which consists of the following eight races:

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WorldMarathonMajors.com

The current WMM series flows into 2018, but for the sake of this article and the following rankings, I’m scratching series, cycles—whatever you wanna call them—and choosing from solely 2017 WMM-labeled races. I picked the top seven from these 2017 races: Tokyo, Boston, London, IAAF World Championships, Berlin, Chicago, New York City.

TIME IN: Still with me? Good stuff ahead. The depth of American marathoning success made this an unenviable ranking task. As a fan of USA distance running, you should be exuberant about that, almost bewildered.

Arguably the best year ever for American marathoners? As Shalane Flanagan would say, “F–k yes!”


7. Laura Thweatt, London Marathon, April 23

Laura Thweatt finished more than eight minutes behind the leader, but the top two women at London—Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba, respectively—went sub-2:18 (!), with Keitany setting the women’s-only world record (2:17:01). There was plenty of noise at the front, but Thweatt’s 2:25:38 sixth-place finish didn’t wash away in silence.

Fall Finish [Runner’s High]

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Photo by James Rogers

Homestretch of the Frank Lloyd Wright Races on Oct. 22 in Oak Park, Illinois. What a fall finish.

HR Pod: Noah Droddy, Professional Runner for Saucony

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Photo by Matt Trappe

Noah Droddy signed with Saucony in May 2017.


Noah Droddy ran 2:16:26 on Oct. 8 at the Chicago Marathon—his first-ever attempt at 26.2 miles. He finished 19th overall (eighth-fastest American) amid a strong elite field. You’ll want to hear how the 27-year-old got to this point of his career. An NCAA Division III runner at DePauw University, Noah had no sponsorship offers upon graduation and questioned both his work and running futures. So…how did he become a 61:48 half-marathoner and 28:22 10Ker now fully sponsored by Saucony and training with the Roots Running Project out of Boulder, Colorado?

Noah joins James Rogers in conversation. They discuss Noah’s marathon debut, his progression from DePauw to Roots, his move to Boulder, the All-D3 Professional Running Team, racing in hats and sunglasses, air mattresses, signing with Saucony, life outside of running, much more. Plus: Hooray Run Podcast introduces “Complete the Tweet”—a fun game toward the end of the chat.

If you prefer to listen via SoundCloud:

Hooray Run Podcast on iTunes/Podcasts app on your phone! Also on Stitcher. Tell a friend, recommend, leave a review, SUBSCRIBE—thanks for listening!

HR Pod: Amanda Loudin, Health and Fitness Freelance Writer

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Photo by David Hobby

Amanda Loudin running near her home in Maryland.


Freelance writer and 15-time marathoner Amanda Loudin (aka Miss Zippy) joins James Rogers in conversation. Amanda’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Runner’s World, Outside and espnW. She makes appearances on Another Mother Runner podcast, and her writing focuses primarily on health and fitness topics.

Based in Maryland, Amanda freelances almost exclusively in a remote role. She does travel frequently, but her ideal writing environment is her home. James and Amanda discuss the writer’s love for the trails, her coaching, the joys of running with her two kids (and without earbuds!), how running acts as medicine to alleviate depression and addiction, how she got her nickname, which runner she would love to interview and more.

Check out Amanda’s website: amanda-loudin.com

If you prefer to listen via SoundCloud:

Hooray Run Podcast on iTunes/Podcasts app on your phone! Also on Stitcher. Tell a friend, recommend, leave a review, SUBSCRIBE—thanks for listening!

HR Pod: Amanda Eccleston, Professional Runner for Brooks

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Photo by Peter Draugalis


Amanda Eccleston joins James Rogers for 80-plus minutes of conversation. Amanda is 27 years old and has a 4:25 mile and a 4:03 1500-meter PR to her name. Her sponsors include Brooks, Run Gum and Cocoa Elite. Amanda missed the 2016 Rio Olympics by 0.03 seconds in the 1500, finishing fourth in 4:06.19 to Brenda Martinez’s 4:06.16 in a memorable race at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

Training in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a member of True Blue Elite coached by Mike McGuire, Amanda shares her story of transformation from a 5:13 1600-meter runner at Tecumseh High School to a 4:25 miler today. She journeyed from Tecumseh to Hillsdale College to the University of Michigan. Conversation topics include: Amanda’s 2017 highlights, UofM’s DMR dominance, her 2016 Olympic Trials, grassroots miles in the United States, training in Ann Arbor, trusting God, why she loves Staples (the store) and how she manages her sweet tooth. Amanda also reflects on David Torrence’s life—his impact on running and the joy he radiated.

Check out Amanda’s website: amandaecclestonruns.com

If you prefer to listen via SoundCloud:

Hooray Run Podcast on iTunes/Podcasts app on your phone! Also on Stitcher. Tell a friend, recommend, leave a review, SUBSCRIBE—thanks for listening!