Saturday, January 14, 2012

Road to Houston: Meb and Shalane triumph, while Abdi surprises in Olympic Trials Marathon

I had to fly to Houston to watch the live stream
It was an exciting morning in Houston. The weather was excellent and the runners rolled. The Men took off at a furious pace and the early pack consisted of Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall, Dathan Ritzenhein, Abdi Abdirahman, Mo Trafeh and former steepler, Brian Olinger. Bit by bit, the Men began to fade off the back, eventually leaving Meb, Hall, Ritz and Abdi to fight for the three spots. Ritz was the first to drop, and was down 35 seconds to Abdi with about a 5k to go. This is when Abdi began to fade and Ritz began to pick it up. As Ritz rounded the last turn, it looked as though he just may catch him. In the end, Meb triumphed (in 2:09:08), with Ryan Hall finishing a strong second (in 9:09:30), Abdi rounding out the podium (in 2:09:47) and Ritz being the first alternate (in 2:09:55). Brett Gotcher ran a strong fifth in 2:11:06. Click here for full Men's results.

On the Women's side, they took it out very, very easy (6:13 first mile) and slowly paired it down. Like the Men's race, in the late stages, it was a pack of four. This pack consisted of Flanagan, Davila, Goucher and Amy Hastings. Hastings was the first to drop, and just as you thought she was done, she put the hammer down and took the lead just before going into the last lap (18.2 miles in). Eventually, the move wore her out and Davila showed her strength. Flanagan hung with her and Goucher stayed a few steps back. Flanagan pulled away over the last 5k and won in 2:25:37, with Davila just a bit back (in 2:25:55) and Goucher just behind her (in 2:26:06). Hastings finished fourth (in 2:27:17) with Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (in 2:29:45) rounding out the top five (Women's full results are here).

More to come later...

Click here for my "fan video" of Meb rounding the last turn with Hall just behind.

Click here for my "fan video" of Shalane rounding the last turn, with Desi and Kara following thereafter.

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