Track Shorts 2015, Lap 20

PC: Jeffrey Eggleston, @jde66leston on Twitter

The just concluded World Championships in Beijing provided a wide range of experiences, stories and emotions.   So many that we really won’t be able to do justice to them all.  But through the eyes of ABers, we’ll  try to give you a sense of what happened at the 10-day event.  Remember too that while the ultimate aim of any world class athlete is to medal, there are many notable achievements short of that goal, like, for example, making the World Championship final.

ABers on the Podium

Some ABers did reach that ultimate goal – a place on the podium.  In her first major championship, Tori Bowie came away with a bronze in the 100.  Not a perfect race for her – she may have leaned a bit early – but a valuable learning experience; “I kind of know what to expect for next year [at the Olympics].”  Cassandra Tate was rewarded for her consistency through the heats, semis and finals (54:27, 54:33 and 54:02) with a bronze in the 400 hurdles.  She too spoke of what it meant for the 2016 Olympics; “to come home with a medal gives me confidence for next year.”  The third medalist was Sanya Richards-Ross, who ran third leg in the heats and lead-off in the final of the 4 x 400, in which the US took second to Jamaica.

World Bronze Medalist!!! #Beijing2015

A photo posted by Cassandra Tate (@sassysandra7) on

So Close

Sandi Morris continued her whirlwind rookie season as a professional, just missing a medal in the pole vault.  Her 15-5 vault was good for a three-way tie for fourth, just four inches off the third place vault.  Except for the last height, she kept “every bar clean;” clearing everything on her first attempt was key to the high placing.

Steeple Chasin’ Nation

Not talking about Kenya, although they are pretty good too.  No, I mean the USA, which got all six of its entrants in the steeple to the final.  Two of those were ABers – Donn Cabral and Stephanie Garcia.  Donn was less than impressed with his 10th place finish in the final (“it’s the most I’ve underperformed in a big race in a long time”) but felt the season as a whole has been pretty good.  Stephanie’s 9th place finish exceeded her first goal of finishing in the top 10 but was just short of her “secret goal” of a top eight placing to garner points for the US team.

Just Short

A trio of AB 800 meter runners got to the semis but didn’t advance to the final.  In the men’s race, Erik Sowinski was in position but couldn’t finish fast enough to qualify for the final.  Pretty much the same for Brenda Martinez and Molly Ludlow.  Molly commented afterwards about the difference between flat out speed and racing through three rounds; “I have a lot of work to do if I’m going to make a final like that. I’m ready to run 1:57, but I need to work on some tactical things [to make a] final.”

Much like Cabral, Ryan Hill, who ran a smart race to get to the 5K final, was less than thrilled with his 7th place finish in the final, at least immediately afterward.  His goal had been top five so he wasn’t that far off and in post-race interviews you could already see him strategizing about race tactics that would help him place even higher in the future.

In much the same fashion, a number of AB throwers did well in qualification but couldn’t crack the top eight.  Whitney Ashley (discus) and Amanda Bingson (hammer) came home with 9th place, while Amber Campbell (hammer) was 12th.  The javelin team did well too, with both Kara Winger and Brittany Borman making it through qualification. In fact Brittany’s qualifying throw was the second longest of her career. Winger threw well enough to make the final eight.

Perspectives

Regardless of place, the athletes came home with experience that will serve them well going forward into the Olympic year. A smattering of the various perspectives and lessons learned in Beijing:

Marathoner Jeffrey Eggleston:

Amanda Bingson:

Hopefully this year, take a little step back that way we can take a giant leap forward for next year in 2016 when it really counts. This is always good fun and good practice, but next year is what we’re banking on.

-Source: USATF.org

Amber Campbell:

I really felt ready for a huge throw. Gotta put it together when it counts. On to Rio indeed!

-Source: Twitter

Falmouth and Road Racing

The road racing circuit felt no need to sit idly by as the track world focused on the World Championships.  The biggest name was the 43rd running of the Falmouth Road Race in Woods Hole MA.  Over 12,000 runners took part in the seven mile race.  ABer Meb Keflezighi was 10th overall and the first masters with a time of 34:01.  On the women’s side, Sara Hall took 2nd in 37:10 followed closely in 4th by Neely Gracey in 37:32.

The Boxcar Mile in West Chester featured a 1-2-3 sweep from AB athletes.  Rachel Schneider was the winner in 4:31.04, with Heather Wilson (4:33.05) and Ashley Higginson (4:34.32) not far behind.  Earlier in the month, Higginson had won the Belmar NJ 5K in 16:14.4, placing 11th overall.

On the more extreme side, Joe Gray took first in the La Sportiva Skaala Uphill, an 8.2k race, with an 1848 meter gain in elevation.

Talk about a COMPETITIVE field of runners...this is why I love this sport and this is why I race! #racethebest #nododging #mountain #running #skyracing #skyrunning #allterrain In winning, I became the FIRST American ever to win this event! Not an easy country to come to and win a big race. The terrain is tough and the Norske athletes are even tougher on these types of surfaces! Congrats to all the finishers who pushed through the snow and the mud to reach the amazing peak with fjords sitting below the mountains! #grateful RESULTS Men 1.Joseph Gray, USA 1.09.01 2.Stian Angermund-Vik1.09.14 3.Johan Bugge1.10.43 4.Jonathan Wyatt, New Zealand1.11.20 5.Thorbjørn Thorsen Ludvigsen1.12.51 6.Emanuele Manzi, Italy1.13.28 7.Marcus Millegård, Sweden1.16.40 8.Kristen Skjeldal1.17.10 9.Kilian Jornet, Spain1.18.12 10.Ole Martin Erdal1.19.39 by @christianprestegaard!

A photo posted by Joseph Gray (@joegeezi) on

On Tap

Stay tuned for two big Diamond League meets, which are the collective finals: Zurich on September 3rd and Brussels on September 11th. Also around the bend are three World Challenge meets in Berlin (9/6), Zagreb (9/8), and Reiti (9/12).

Stateside, the Hoka One One Long Island Mile is coming up on September 9th.  Meet director and ABer Kyle Merber is promising “elite competition” and a “raucous atmosphere” so what’s not to like.  Start list to date is available here.

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