Track Shorts 2017: Lap 4

Photo: @mariadalzot / Instagram

March is like that song by the band Dawes – “A Little Bit of Everything.”  A little bit of 70 degrees, a little bit of blizzard, a little bit of gale force winds, a little bit of sun.  The month is that way for our sport too – a little bit of track, a little bit of ultras, a little bit of road racing.  We have a deep pile of results spanning at least three continents.

Winning Isn’t Everything

Nor is it the only thing. But it is cool and we like to take note of victories. Let’s start with a national champion; Caroline Boller took the women’s title at the USATF 100km Road Championships in Wisconsin. Her time of 7:51:02.6 was also good for 5th overall.

Next we turn to the Pan American Race Walk Cup Trials.  This was another 1-2 for ABers Maria Michta-Coffey and Miranda Melville.  Congrats to both as they will be representing the US this summer.  It’s been a good spring for AB walkers as Erin Taylor-Talcott also got a W with a PR in a 20km walk in New Zealand.

Out on the trails, Traci Falbo won the Yamacraw 50 km, a point-to-point trail race in Kentucky.  On the roads, a self-professed out of shape Tyler Andrews was still sharp enough to pick up a 5k win in Madrid, Spain.

And some ABers recorded wins in the nascent track season.  None were bigger than Abbabiya Simbassa’s smashing 10k at Stanford; his 28:03.83 was a big PR and a world leader.  Can’t help but note that Joseph Gray was 8th in 28:18.73; probably would have gone faster if the track hadn’t been so flat and smooth.  Margaret Connelly got two wins – one at 1500 in Boulder and another in her section of the 5k at Stanford.  Not to forget the field events, Andy Fryman got a winner at High Point, NC with a 71.98 hammer throw.  Jumpers Andrea Geubelle (13.51 TJ) and Jeff Henderson (7.86 LJ) got wins at the Sun Angel Classic.

Season Openers

Still really early in the track season so sometimes it’s just about getting some marks on the board.  Like the AB trio of Kendra Chambers, Dana Mecke, and Mookie Salaam at the Texas Relays.  Kendra put down a 2:02:43 800 and did a 4×4 relay leg.  Dana ran 2:03.06 800 and a 4:18.73 1500.  Mookie ran 10.23, 21.10 and did a 4 x 1 relay leg. At the Florida State Relays, James Harris got second (on the tie break) in the high jump.  We’ll be watching as he continues his unique doubling between the high jump and the 400.  Cecilia Barowski ripped a solid 800 at Princeton, running 2:05.26.  Chad Noelle went sub 14 minutes at Raleigh then in true George Constanza style announced “I’m outta here.”  Actually his quote was “#Sub14 on the debut. I’ll stick with one per year though.”  Jarryd Wallace called his 10.93/22:03 double a “successful season opener.” Sam Mattis started his season with a throw of 61.22m and a win at the Colonial Relays. Great news to see Brigetta Barrett returning from injury and taking second in the HJ Grenada; her 1.85 would have been top 20 US performers last year.

Road Racing Standards

March has a few of road racing’s classic events.  DC’s Cherry Blossom 10 miler always draws well.  This year AB’s Tara Welling was 7th in 55:34 while Susanna Sullivan was 10th in 56:12; they were the first and second Americans in the race.  Another classic is the Cooper River Bridge run in Charleston, SC with the cool bridge crossing; Kaitlin Goodman got 6th (1st American) and Donnie Cowart was 15th on the men’s side.


The Cooper River Bridge

Other road racing news includes a 5-6-7 finish by ABers Carlsbad 5k; Brenda Martinez (15:44) led Neely Gracey (15:49) and Lauren Paquette (15:52) across the finish line.  On the men’s side Will Leer stepped up from his usual 1500 and ran 14:14 for 9th.  At the Shamrock Shuffle Meghan Peyton also led an AB women’s contingent with her 2nd place; Jamie Cheever, proving there is life outside the steeplechase, was 8th and Deena Kastor, proving age is just a statistic, was 11th.  By the way, the Pikes Peak Elite group took the team title.  And lastly we note a pair of second place finishes in the half marathon; Esther Atkins’s was at Gasparilla while Tara Welling‘s was at Corvallis.

Whew, did I miss any?  Probably.

What’s In A Name

I have no idea from whence the Chuckanut Mountain Ridge got its name but we thank the Chuckanut 50K race organizers for using it.  From the website we get the explanation that the route is a “lollipop” course.  The first and last 10k are on flat, cushy trails but in the middle 30k you get to ascend, traverse and descend the aforementioned mountain.  Camille Herron and Maria Dalzot apparently enjoyed themselves, taking 4th and 5th in the event; they were 39th and 47th overall.

Shades of Sidd Finch

In 1985 for the preseason baseball edition, Sports Illustrated profiled a pitcher in the Mets farm system by the name of Sidd Finch.  He had apparently mastered some technique that allowed him to regularly throw a fastball at 125 mph.  Fascinating article but the more you read, the more suspicious you got.  Should have checked out the date on the cover – April 1st.  Finch was real only in the mind of the author.

I bring this up because Manteo Mitchell posted this fascinating Instagram about his first foray into the 800 meters.  Very nice result.  Then we noticed the date on the Instagram post.  Now we assure you that Mitchell is real person.  And he has some very real (and solid) personal bests at a variety of events (44.96 400m).  But Track Shorts staff have been combing results for about a week now and we cannot verify the mark.  Not sayin’ it’s an April Fools prank but…

Don’t forget that Boston is on Monday, and you can follow Meb Keflezighi‘s final running of the event @bostonmarathon.  Track season gets into full swing with the World Relays and some big relay carnivals.  There’s also the USATF 1 mile road and half marathon championships in late April.  We’ll be back in early May to see what’s up.

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