Saturday, June 23, 2012

Talking Trials: Wet 10,000's lead Day One at Hayward Field

Ritz was pumped up after making his third Olympics
(taken with instagram)
This is the third installment of "Talking Trials." There will be more to come every day during the 2012 USA Olympic Track and Field Trials from Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, OR. Full results for the trials are here.

After getting off the plane Thursday night at 11pm Pacific and rolling into Eugene at 1am, I was pretty wiped out. That didn't keep me from the 9am Brooks/Flotrack 6 miler that included all of Pre's Trail. The day only got better from there. The rain though, got heavier and heavier. The Men's 10,000 had a cross country feel to it that made it all the more exciting.

The day at Hayward kicked with a roar. Ashton Eaton ran a Decathlon World Record of 10.21 in the 100 meters and then followed it up with a Decathlon World Record in the Long Jump (27'). He'd end the day 17 points ahead of schedule on the American Record, and he did it in the rain.

The prelims in the Women's 100 and 100 Hurdles and Men's and Women's 400 and 800 went pretty much to prediction, with a few outliers. Tavaris Tate hitting the track with 150 meters to go was pretty ugly, but not as bad a watching Latavia Thomas trip, hit the ground, and then get kicked in the head in the 800 prelims. That one looked like it hurt. Erica Moore also failed to qualify for Saturdays semifinal.

But as writing about running is an American Distance Running blog, the 10,000's were the highlights for me. When the guys started, it was absolutely pouring. The track was covered in puddles and there seemed to be no end in sight to the rain. Right from the gun, Galen Rupp and Dathan Ritzenhein took it out. Ritz needed the Olympic A Standard, so weather be damned, it was going down! Oregon's Luke Puskedra took the lead for a while and when it looked like he would blow up, he soldiered on, and would later rally and finish 8th overall in a 17 second PR of 27:56.62, concluding an excellent career in the Oregon Ducks uniform.

Over the last mile, Rupp, Ritz and Matt Tegenkamp would breakaway from the field and would take the podium, with Rupp winning in an Olympic Trials Record of 27:25.33. He looked great doing it and has to be considered in medal contention in his signature event in London. Teg motored home eight seconds later for the Silver; but no one was more elated than Ritz. After finishing fourth in the Marathon Trials, he looked like a broken man. Today, he looked like a kid on Christmas. This would be his third consecutive Olympic Team. Raleigh's Bobby Mack would finish a strong 9th in 27:58.07.

Shalane Flanagan leads the pack
When the Women's 10,000 started, the rain slowed. This is when it got fun to be a fan. I met Steve Edwards when I was at Carolina. This was before he met his now wife, Shalane Flanagan. He is a sometimes guest on one of my favorite podcasts, "3 Non Joggers," and is as down to earth and fun as they get. He invited the guys up from Portland to come watch Shalane compete and I was lucky enough to tag along for the ride. According to Edwards, Shalane had run 104 miles already this week. She still looked great the whole way.

It was fun watching Steve watch Shalane, but an even more exciting byproduct of this was watching Kiel Uhl cheer on his wife Lisa. Flanagan and Uhl train together and emotion was pouring out. At one point, (Lisa) Uhl had to stop and re-tie her shoe. She fell 100 yards behind the pack, but would recover to finish fourth, qualifying for her first Olympics, as she was one of only three women to have the Olympic A Standard (sans Flanagan, as she will run the marathon). Despite Flanagan and Uhl's success, Texas A&M's Natosha Rogers was the story of the day. Rogers fell to the track early in the race and rallied late to finish second, between eventual winner, Amy Hastings, and Flanagan. Her personal best time of 31:59.21 would be just over 14 seconds off the Olympic A Standard.

After the competition, I finished my piece on local runners competing, for the Greensboro News & Record, and then hit the dorms before heading out for Saucony night at the Wild Duck Cafe. The place was packed and looks to be the "after hours" spot for the trials. One of the people in attendance was a very excited Matt Tegenkamp, who would qualify for his second Olympics. Now the question is, will he double back in the 5000? or is his work complete? Will he run the 5000 and help teammates Andrew Bumbalough and Lopez Lomong? We'll find out soon as the trials march on!

More photos from Day One at Hayward:

Galen Rupp greets the fans after his 10,000 win
The crowd at the Wild Duck Cafe
Coach Bill Bowerman welcomes fans to Track Town
Brooks/Flotrack run with the legend, Derek Rubis, and Spiked Up, Psyched Up's Kevin Liao
If there's anything specific you want to see, email me!

Follow writing about running on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

Support the site and start here when you shop on

No comments:

Post a Comment