Track Shorts: Des Moines to Doha and Everything In Between

USA 4x400 Red Team at Penn Relays (left to right): Jaide Stepter, Jasmine Blocker, Kendra Chambers, and Daina Harper

As I review the pile of results from the relay carnivals, open meets, international meets and USATF road championships, I am reminded of the dilemma faced by the mosquito at the nudist colony – I know what I’m supposed to do but can’t decide where to begin. Really, it has been an extraordinary three plus weeks since the Boston Marathon.  I guess the best thing to do is just dive in.

Do Not Adjust Your TV Set

The first thing that strikes me is that we are seeing names in events that are not typically associated with those athletes.  Turns out they are not typos but signs of some serious diversity.  Check out these results from AB athletes:

  • Rachel Schneider running a 9:31.89 2-mile (2nd behind Simpson in American Record race at Drake) followed by 15:15.88 5k PR and outdoor American Leader at the Payton Jordan Invitational
  • Charlene Lipsey winning the Penn Relays mile with a 4:31.19
  • Kendra Chambers carrying the baton for 53.10 leg on USA 4 x 4 winning squad at Penn
  • Garrett Heath logging a 27:56.11 10k PR at the Payton Jordan Invitational
  • Kori Carter speeding through a 12.81 for 3rd at Drake
  • Brenda Martinez clocking a 9:32.82 for 3rd in the 2-mile at Drake

We’ll see if these are experiments or changing priorities.  In any case, they are impressive efforts in their own right.

Spring Is Usually a Great Time for Realtors

Certainly for Sara Vaughn, our favorite realtor-mom, anyway.  She stepped up to the 2-mile at Drake and recorded a 9:55.45 for 6th in Simpson’s AR race.  But she really shone at the Payton Jordan Invitational a week later with a 4:11.70 first place in the 1500.  Hopefully she’s been able to sell a few houses too.

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Musical Accompaniment courtesy Simple Minds

The popular House of Run podcasters mentioned seven different contenders for the Payton Jordan 5K in their preview.  Riley Masters was not one of them.  Well check out this kick.  Riley doesn’t get the victory but gets the same time – 13:16.97 – as winner Ingebrigtsen, good for a PR, the American Leader and equal World Leader.  Plus, he probably won’t be overlooked in future previews.

Club Champions

Okay maybe we exaggerate but the USATF Road Mile Championships looked a bit like the AB Club Championships, especially on the women’s side.  So the winner wasn’t AB (Emily Lipari) but just about everybody else was.  Places 2-6 were ABers – Martinez, Schneider, Osika, Mackey and Brown; plus we had Dana Mecke 9th.    Maybe not quite so deep on the men’s side but Riley Masters did get the W (tune up for 5k?) with Garrett Health finishing 6th (tune up for 10k?).

Unfortunately, Heather Kampf was not there as she continues to work through injuries.  To paraphrase Bob Dylan, the only person on the scene missing was the Queen of the Road Mile.

Related: Embracing the Struggle, by Heather Kampf

Sisters (apologies to Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen)

On the same day that Sarah Crouch was winning the Madrid half marathon, one sister (Georgia Porter) was winning the open division of the London Marathon (getting OT qualifier in the process) and the other (Shannon Porter) was setting a 5k PR at the Mt. Sac Relays in California.  Who got to brag first at the dinner table?

Meanwhile, on another continent, Jade Barber was picking up a win in the 100H in Hiroshima while her sister Kaila finished 5th.  Hopefully the trash talking was at a minimum.

Keep the Cameras Rolling

We don’t mean to diminish in any way Jenny Simpson’s awesome American Record two-mile performance at Drake.  We just wish the cameras had continued to track the string of fine efforts that followed her to the finish line.  Second through fourth were ABers.  We already mentioned Schneider, Martinez and Vaughn. Stephanie Garcia was enjoying life without barriers and water jumps, clocking 9:37.86 for 4th and Shannon Osika was 7th.

Help Wanted: Certified Public Lap Counter

In the last Track Shorts, we noted that Tyler Andrews was planning an assault on the World and American records for the 50K on the track at La Playa Stadium in Santa Barbara.  Logistical support was key as detailed in this article.  Probably no more important role than the lap counter, as Tyler would be making 125 circuits of the track.  And circle the track he did, breaking the world record by over 2 minutes with his time of 2:46:06.  If our abacus is correct, that works out to about 5:21 per mile for 31 miles.  Wonder if he tipped the lap counter.

Des Moines to Doha

We don’t know if Emirates airline offers directs flights but somehow Sandi Morris and Jasmin Stowers made that journey.  After competing at Drake, we next see both on the stat sheets from the Diamond League season opener in Doha.   Sandi jumped 4.88 (16-0) for the win in Des Moines and followed it up with a first place in Doha (4.48 or 15-10-1/2) that included a few attempts at an AR.  Jasmin was 12.85 for 4th at Drake (with an aiding wind) and backed that up with a 12.77, also for 4th in Doha.  Both added significant mileage to their frequent flyer accounts.

But Wait, There’s More

  • Johnny Gregorek made it an AB double in the Penn Relays miles with his 3:54.94:

The race unfolded exactly how I wanted it. This year I want to focus on having a lot of confidence, taking the lead early, and being in a good position and being strong and being a new kind of runner. This sport is so competitive in this country and around the world, you’ve got to always be evolving, always getting better. You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone. I want to be there, I want to be pushing the pace. I want to be seen as someone who controls the race,and makes the race my own.

  • Jessica Tonn took home first place in the Payton Jordan 10k with a huge PR of 31:54.83; her dad offered us inside scoopage, reporting that Jess followed the race plan perfectly, sticking to the 16 minute 5K split and making one decisive move
  • Cassandra Tate checked in with a 55.14 for 3rd at Drake
  • Katie Mackey (15:18.88) and Stephanie Garcia (15:23.71) had solid 5K races at Payton Jordan
  • Jeff Henderson went long at the Robison Invitational in Utah; his 8.44 (27-8-1/4) is the American Leader and outdoor World Leader
  • Maria Michta-Coffey overcame the weather and GI issues to record her highest finish ever in a world competition, taking 29th in the IAAF Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang, China

No Stopping Now

There’s no slowing in the near future.  The next few weeks bring the Diamond League Shanghai event, IAAF Challenge events in Kingston, Jamaica and Osaka, Japan and the USATF 25K Championships.  At the end of the month, we’ll be in Eugene for some on-site reporting of the Prefontaine Classic, which is also a stop on the Diamond League tour.  The snows of April are a distant memory and we are loving it.

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