February 22, 2014
Albuquerque, NM - What a race. The women’s 3,000m at the 2014 US Indoor Track and Field Championships was so good that it’s actually a race that is still going on as we approach midnight.
On the track, after a tactical beginning, cancer survivor and 4:01 1,500 runner Gabe Grunewald flew by Nike Oregon Project teammates Jordan Hasay and Shannon Rowbury on the last lap to get a dominant victory – her first US title – in 9:23.15. Rowbury ended up a well-beaten second in 9:25.49 as no one could match Grunewald’s 30.67 final lap. Hasay ended up fourth in 9:27:40 as she was passed late by Sara Vaughn (9:26.46).
On the last lap, there was some contact between Grunewald and Hasay on the first turn.
But surely given the dominant margin of victory, no protest would be filed right? Wrong.
Surely, the protest by Hasay’s coach Alberto Salazar wouldn’t be upheld? Well, we’re not sure.
Yes, that’s right – we’re not sure. Yet again, in a scene reminiscent of Felix-Tarmoh, USATF has managed to find a way to have the status of a high profile race be in doubt hours after the fact. (editor’s note: USATF eventually dq’d Grunewald, then a couple days later reinstated her. See here)
Jon Gugala has reported that Salazar’s protest was initially denied and his appeal was denied. But then, in what Gugala says might be a violation of USATF rules, there was an appeal of his appeal. Gugala claims this has been accepted and Grunewald has been DQed. You can read Gugala’s piece on RunBlogRun: A Rudderless Ship: USATF Overrules Itself, Disqualifies Gabe Grunewald by Jon Gugala (he had an earlier article about it here).
The official results website still lists the race as “Pending” and says a decision will come Sunday.
Grunewald, herself, at first acted like she was DQed as she tweeted around 10 pm Albuquerque time,”God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. I will FIGHT the #USATFCorruption.” But since then, just before midnight she tweeted, “Sincere thank you to everyone for the support today — I’m not sure what the outcome will be but I hope we can spark some @usatf changes.”
So, it sounds like a fourth appeal will be decided upon on Sunday morning so keep coming back and you’ll eventually find out who won this race. We’ll recap what happened on the track below.
Editor’s update on 2/23: Unbelievably, USATF has DQed Grunewald.
USATF won’t speak to anyone, but their website says, “Several protests were filed in relation to the women’s 3,000m final. After two reviews, including enhanced video evidence, Gabe Grunewald was disqualified by the Jury of Appeals for clipping and impeding the stride of Jordan Hasay.”
The 3k That Was Really A 600 (And Then A Lobbying Match)
The race was for the most part on the track exactly the kind of race you’d expect when at altitude and in a championship setting – slow and tactical.
It started at close to marathon pace, but in the end you would have needed to close in close to 30 seconds flat for the last 200m to win as that’s about Gabe Grunewald did, running her last lap in 30.65 and last 400 in 62.69 to get a dominating victory over Shannon Rowbury, Sarah Vaughn and Jordan Hasay.
The race started out at a jog with Jordan Hasay leading the first 300m or so before Boulder Track Club’s Laura Thweatt took over the pacing duties and took the field through 400m in 84 seconds and 800 in 2:48. To put that in perspective, that’s on pace for a 2:27:40 marathon, which wouldn’t even put you within 10 minutes of the women’s WR. Thweatt would continue leading at a relatively slow pace (running mostly 36-37 per 200) taking the field through the mile in 5:18 and the 2K in 6:32. It was at this point that the 3-favorites in Hasay, Grunewald and Rowbury really positioned themselves as they all sat in positions 3-5.
However, Thweatt continued to lead and it wouldn’t be until a full 2 laps later, just after 600m to go, that the field behind her would start making moves. At this point, Rowbury and Hasay made a move to finally pass Thweatt, but Sarah Vaughn beat them to it, making a big surge to take the lead with 500 to go and running a 33.67 for that lap. Vaughn’s lead would be short-lived, however, as with just under 2 laps to go, Rowbury, Hasay and then Grunewald all blew by her and started the drive for home.
At the bell, Rowbury had a small gap on Hasay with Grunewald right on Hasay’s heels. On the first turn, Grunewald made contact with Hasay when she tried to pass her, which let Rowbury open up a larger gap on the backstretch, but it wouldn’t matter as Grunewald just blew it open, taking huge strides, blowing by Rowbury and putting more than 2 seconds on her in the last 80m.
Grunewald closed in 30.67 to win in 9:23.15 to Rowbury’s 9:25.49. Hasay, as has been the case in all of her big races in 2014, would struggle over the last lap, only closing in 35.11 and getting passed by Vaughn in the final meters as the two took spots 3 and 4.
Quick takes, results, an interview with Rowbury and the screen shots from the race appear below. Click on the photos to get a larger version.
Note: The quick takes were written when we thought Grunewald was the winner.
Quick Take #1: A great victory for Grunewald. Four years ago, she ran her first USA championships here in Albuquerque. She still had outdoor eligibility left and came into USAs as a 4:40+ miler (her 1,500 PR was 4:22). She lost a shoe and left with a 10th place finish. Four years later, the cancer survivor is 4:01 1,500 runner and US champion.
On the NBCSN telecast, Grunewald was pumped to have won, “It’s been a long journey for me,” said Grunewald after the race on NBCSN. “I did expect it for it to be a furious finish and i just tried to be patient.”
“I couldn’t be happier to be a US champion. I hope I inspire people – that’s why I run.”
Note: After the race we tried to get an interview with Gruenwald, but she didn’t want to give one officially at that point yet as she had been informed of the protest by Alberto Salazar and was waiting to see if she’d be DQed. (More on this below.)
Quick Take #2: There was contact between Grunewald and Hasay on the first turn of the lat lap (see photo to the right). Grunewald also may have bumped Rowbury just before the last turn. Given the large margin of victory, we’re happy that she wasn’t DQed (Editor’s note: or was she?). MB: Employee 1.1 just texted to say Salazar is trying to get Grunewald DQed
Quick Take #3: We’re sure Hasay is disappointed not to be going to Worlds but she’s had a great indoor season – with PRs at the 800, mile and 3k/2mile. Her Achilles heel was her last 400 was not good at all and that cost her here tonight. Losing to two runners that you beat by 16+ seconds (Rowbury) and 19+ (Grunewald) in a 2-mile two weeks ago isn’t fun, but outkicking 4:00 and 4:01 runners isn’t easy.
Right now, Hasay is like Galen Rupp was a few years ago. Pretty good but with no wheels. Rupp’s work with Salazar has given him wheels – will it work for Hasay?
Quick Take #4: After the race we spoke with Shannon Rowbury, who talked about her race and season. She’s been dealing with coming back from a bursitis issue, so for a long time wasn’t confident about this race, but started feeling better in the days before so thought she could get top 2. She said it’s been an adjustment getting used to being in Alberto Salazar’s Oregon Project, but the biggest benefit is having training partners, an on-site coach, separate strength and conditioning coach, and all the extensive resources of the Nike training base in Portland.
In regards to her own contact with Grunewald in the last lap, Rowbury blew it off and saying, “Gabe has a tendency to be … she just has a big arm swing. So there were a few times I had to try to protect myself and defend myself, but nothing that I felt was throwing me off my game that much. And in the early stages there were so many people so closely packed you know there’s going to be arms and legs all over.”
Quick Take #5: We’ve embedded the video of the alleged foul. Decide for yourself: Video Of Controversial DQ Of Gabriele Grunewald In Women’s 3,000m
Brooks / Team USA Minnesota
Boulder Track Club
Boulder Running Company/adidas
Bowerman Athletic Club
Roanoke Valley Elite
Interview With Rowbury: