2012 US Olympic Track & Field Trials Women's 10,000 Preview: Will Shalane Flanagan Get The Win In Midst Of Marathon Training?
June 20, 2012
Day 1 of the 2012 US Olympic Track & Field Trials will conclude with the running of the women's 10,000.
And while we hate to be the one to kill your buzz, it is our duty to tell you that this race is almost certainly going to result in a bit of a letdown (there is a reason, after all, that you come to LetsRun.com each day - to get the truth and hard-hitting, opinionate analysis - not fluff PR pieces that make up what is left of track and field journalism).
We say it's going to be a bit of a letdown because it comes right after 13 sub-28:00 men will have battled it out in the men's 10,000 for three Olympic spots with the presumed victory going to Oregon's favorite son - Galen Rupp.
As compared to that great drama, this race doesn't offer a whole lot of pure sporting drama, for one simple reason.
1) We are virtually certain this race will be irrelevant in picking the Olympic team.
What are we talking about?
Well, the fact of the matter is the IAAF Olympic "A" standard is 31:45.00 and there are only four women in this field who have achieved that standard.
|Shalane Flanagan||Nike / Oregon TC Elite||30:59.97|
|Lisa Uhl||Nike / Oregon TC Elite||31:35.50|
Flanagan, the Olympic bronze medallist in the 10,000 in Beijing, has already said she's going to only run the marathon in London. Thus, there are only three women in this race with the "A" and thus (barring big PRs from someone else) all three are going to the Olympics.
The 2012 US Olympic women's 10,000-meter team will almost certainly consist of Amy Hastings, Janet Cherobon-Bawcon and Lisa Uhl.
The question thus becomes - can anyone else in the field run under 31:45.00 and get the "A" to make things interesting?
The simple answer is we really doubt it. Only three women in the field who don't have the "A" already have come within 30 seconds.
|Alisha Williams||Boulder Running Company/adidas||32:03.07|
|Meaghan Nelson||Iowa State University||32:14.27|
Of those three, we are discounting two of them 100% before the race even starts.
After running under 32:15 earlier this year, the two collegians in Deborah Maier and Meaghan Nelson both missed significant amounts of training time and only finished 3rd and 4th at NCAAs respectively. Thus, nearly 30-second PRs aren't going to be in the cards for them.
What about Alisha Williams?
Well we love her story, as the 30-year-old Western State grad works full-time as a CPA (LinkedIn profile here). She's having a fantastic 2012, as after finishing 14th in 2:35:09 in her marathon debut at the 2012 US Olympic Trials Marathon, Williams has busted out in the shorter distances. This year, she's lowered her 10,000 PR from 33:17 to 32:03 and her 5,000 PR from 15:45 to 15:24. Heck, she's even doing well at the mile, as she was recently second at the US road mile champs in 4:39.
But a 31:45 equates to something like 15:08 for 5,000. We guess she's got a chance, but it's going to take a Billy Mills-esque type run for the lady who came into the year with a 33:17 PR to run 31:45.
So since we're very confident in who is on the Olympic team, the question becomes, who wins this race?
Under normal circumstances, there would be no drama related to that question either, as Shalane Flanagan is a class above everyone else in this race in terms of accomplishments.
But Flanagan admits she's in the midst of heavy marathon training, so it's possible she loses this race.
The 27-year-old Hastings is in good form. Since finishing 4th at the Marathon Trials, she's PRed at both 10,000 (31:19.87) and 3,000 (8:58.21). But the one with the best chance of upsetting Flanagan in our mind is Flanagan's training partner - 24-year-old Lisa Uhl. Yes, we know that Uhl lost to Hastings at Stanford in the 10,000, but in that race Uhl went out aggressively ahead of the pack and cratered.
More recently, on June 2nd at Pre, Uhl beat Hastings convincingly in the 3,000 as Uhl ran 8:52.95 to Hastings' 8:58.21.
1) Flanagan - We just don't see her losing. Her PR of 30:22 is almost a minute better than anyone else's in the field.
2) Uhl - Better recent form than Hastings.
3) Hastings - she deserves to be an Olympian.
Parting Thought: We are a bit surprised that former UC Davis runner Kim Conley, who has run 15:24.89 and 32:00.94 this year, opted for the 5,000 instead of the 10,000. Wouldn't running a 15-second PR and beating 1 person here be easier than PRing and beating 9 "A" qualifiers in the 5,000 (there are 11 "A"'s entered in the 5,000). The "A" in the 5,000 is 15:20.00.