The Pan Am Games provided plenty to talk about on their own but meets in France, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland and England kept the travel agencies and TS staff busy as well. We also haven’t checked in on the road – and off-road – racing scene in a while and it turns out there’s good stuff there too.
Toronto was the site of the Pan Am Games, the “Athletics” portion of which ran for eight days. The roster of ABers competing was listed in TS 17. Though the competition is more than just about bringing home the hardware, we can’t resist focusing in on the medal count, since AB athletes took three golds and four silvers. Ashley Higginson’s smile below says it all; she had a big time performance winning the steeple with a 9:48.17 PR and a Pan Am meet record. Queen Harrison had her best race of the year as she PRed (12.52) in her 100H victory. The third gold came from Kibwè Johnson on the strength of his 247-7 hammer toss. Riley Dolezal inched, literally, closer to a WC qualifier but his 267-9 left him 15 inches short; the throw did however earn him a silver in the javelin. Kara Winger (201-7 in the javelin) and Amber Campbell (233-8 in the hammer) also got silvers; Campbell was just over a foot short for gold. The last silver came from Heather Miller-Koch in the heptathlon; her 2:12.57 800 meter effort blew open a close race for second.
As we mentioned at the top, Europe was busy the last two weeks. Some of the hotter hands? Jasmin Stowers reminded everyone that the WC meet will be weaker without her, with 100H wins at Gala dei Castelli (Bellinzona, Switzerland) and the London Diamond League, the latter with a meet record 12.47. Molly Ludlow broke 2:00 two more times at those same two meets. Chanelle Price was right behind Ludlow in London, also breaking 2:00. Gabe Grunewald got a PR at 800 in Switzerland (2:01.23) and just missed out by .26 winning the 1500 in London with her 4:06.35. Katie Mackey has bounced back from her USAs disappointment with a pair of 3rds in big 1500 races, running 4:04.33 in Huesden (Belgium) and finishing just behind Grunewald in London. Hurdlers Cassandra Tate (54.36 for 3rd in London) and Turquoise Thompson (56.24 for 2nd in Huesden) also had good weeks.
Sandi Morris is sure loving life as a professional athlete. She got second (losing out on the tiebreaker) at Heusden with a 15-7.25″ vault (#3 all-time US); Mary Saxer was third in that event with a good vault of 14-10”. Erik Sowinski continued his WC prep, running 1:45.82 for 8th in a very competitive field in London. Kara Winger‘s 5th in the javelin at London was noteworthy by itself given the field but we also see that it was just four days after she competed in Toronto.
Flying over my new PR! Gosh I'm so excitedddd thank you for all the endless support pic.twitter.com/lBZLl2koUA— Sandi Morris (@SandiCheeks15) July 18, 2015
B Races and Rabbits
Two perhaps underappreciated aspects of the summer scene are the B races (second sections of an event when there are too many athletes for one heat) and rabbits (pace setters brought in to ensure a fast time). Don’t get the idea that elite athletes aren’t involved in either of these aspects. Last week, Riley Masters ran a swift 3:36.71 in the B section of the 1500 in Huesden (Belgium) and Jon Peterson clocked a PR 13:33.17 5000 in the B race at the same meet. For rabbits, Chanelle Price anticipates it being “one of the proudest moments of [her] career” to lead through 800 in Dibaba’s historic WR 1500 run in Monaco. Rachel Schneider took a less conventional approach as she paced the 1500 field at Huesden; rather than drop out as a rabbit would typically do, she stayed in, clocking a 4:06.90 PR while finishing 8th! Best B race effort of the year will likely go to Jeff Porter for his slip and slide finish in London (wait, it was raining in London, imagine that?).
— Chris Nickinson (@chrisnickinson) July 24, 2015
Irish Miles Are Smiling
At the Morton Games in Dublin, Riley Masters took 3rd with a solid 3:57.48. Fellow ABer Heather Wilson was 2nd in her race, clocking 4:31.19. We also had steeplers in Sweden. Bridget Franek ran 9:42.59 for 2nd in Karlstad while Sarah Pease got 4th with a PR 9:46.66. That was Sarah’s second PR of the summer, as earlier she had lopped five seconds off her 1500 best at a meet in Mataro, Spain; obviously something’s working for her in Europe.
Back on the Road Again
Heather Kampf returned to the friendly confines of the open roads of Charlevoix, Michigan to win the Ryan Shay mile for the 4th consecutive year in 4:26.83. In Chicago, Jeffrey Eggleston‘s 65:05 winning time at the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon might be considered on the pedestrian side but it was 80 degrees with 70% humidity; Jeffrey viewed it as “great prep” for the upcoming World Championships.
Thankful to honor the memory of Ryan Shay with a win today! Plus, any excuse to come to Charlevoix is a good one. pic.twitter.com/CqiOYn9lRY— Heather Kampf (@HeatherRaeKampf) July 25, 2015
Off the road, Maria Dalzot was at the Table Rock 27K just north of San Francisco. Sure, it sounds short at just under 17 miles but they make up for it with regular climbs of 1500-2000 feet. Maria finished second in the women’s race and 14th overall with a time of 2:13:08, more than 12 minutes faster than last year. The 17 points for second place essentially locked up the 2015 Mountain Cup for her.
Meanwhile Back at the Ranch…
A bunch of folks gathered at the Olympic Training Center for some friendly field event competition. AB winners included Melinda Withrow (14-09.75 PV), Liz Podominick (202-11.50 DT) and Britney Henry (229-05.50 HT). Jeremy Taiwo tuned up for the World Champs, competing in the pole vault and discus.
The last Diamond League meet before the World Champs is DN Galan in Stockholm on 7/30. Looks like there may be some other meets of interest in Austria and Belgium but things are slowing down as the WC’s draw near. Nothing immediate on the road racing front but the venerable Falmouth race (8/16) is fast approaching.