Goucher Wants to Break Alberto Salazar's 8k American Record
By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
Editor's Note: David Monti is the elite athlete coordinator for the NYC RoadRunners the host of the US 8k Championships
When Adam Goucher
lines up for the U.S. Men's 8-K Championship on Saturday, March 17 in
New York City's Central Park, he'll not only be trying to win his
second national road racing title, but also knock off one of the
country's oldest national records, which happens to be held by his
coach: marathon legend Alberto Salazar.
"It would mean a lot," said Goucher yesterday of breaking Salazar's record. "I'd like to have an American record."
set the U.S. 8-K record of 22 minutes and four seconds over 26 years
ago in Los Altos, Calif., in a race held at night. He recalled that it
was hard to judge his speed in the darkness, and that for a few years
he doubted the legitimacy of his own mark.
"We went out very fast (13:18 at 3 miles)," said Salazar who spoke on a teleconference with Goucher yesterday which was hosted by the New York Track Writers. "It was at night; it was very hard to tell."
But he later came to accept the time, and doesn't see why the 31 year-old Goucher, a 2000 Olympian, can't break his mark. He said that 8 km was the ideal distance for Goucher, a 5000m specialist who has won two U.S. outdoor titles at the distance.
think with a little more speed work over the next month he's got a good
chance of breaking that record," said Salazar who was pleased with Goucher's
second place finish at the U.S. Cross Country Championships last
Saturday in Boulder, Colo. "I think that if it's a farily fast course,
there is no reason Adam can't do this."
The rolling course,
which has few flat sections and an uphill finish, will be the same as
the final 8 kilometers of the U.S. Men's Olympic Trials Marathon which
will be held on Saturday, November 3. The New York Road Runners, the
not-for-profit organization which organizes both the 8-K and the Men's
Olympic Marathon Trials, will use the same 8 km loop four times to make
up the heart of the Trials course.
a tough course," said Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of the Road
Runners who is also the race director for the 8-K and the Men's Olympic
Trials Marathon. "It is tougher than a flat course."
but also potentially lucrative. The U.S. 8-K champion will earn
$10,000 out of a total prize money purse of $35,000, but can add to
that a $25,000 bonus if he breaks Salazar's record. In addition, to
help assure a fast pace, the Road Runners will pay the first three
runners to pass the 5-K mark in under 13:50 a prime of $1000 as long as
they finish in the top-10. Therefore, an athlete who wins the race,
breaks Salazar's record and is in the top-3 at the 5-K mark in under
13:50 will take home $36,000.
"We've put a lot of incentives for Adam and others to run well," Wittenberg also said.
the 8-K is also a chance to run a race which he has wanted to compete
in for years, but was unable to. In 2005, the last time the
championship was held in New York, Goucher injured his knee a week at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, forcing him to withdraw.
"It's something I wanted to do the last few years," said Goucher who watched the 2005 championships from the sidelines. "I'm excited to do it. New York is a place I love to be."
has raced several times in the Big Apple with good success. He made
his New York City debut at the Millrose Games in 1999, finishing fourth
in the 3000m in 7:47.90. Most recently, he won the 2006 U.S. Cross
Country Championships at 4-K in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, then
finished fourth in the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile last
"It was a thrill," he said of running in New York City last year. "It was a lot of fun."
also said may also return to New York City again to contest the
Marathon Trials in November, a distance he has never tried, or even
come close to in racing (the 8-K will only be his third serious road
and I have discussed it," he said. "I think we're gong to wait and see
how my (track) season goes. I'm definitely game for it."
Wittenberg also announced that in addition to Goucher,
she had secured the participation in the 8-K of two-time Olympian Abdi
Abdirahman, and reigning U.S. 10,000m champion, Jorge Torres. Torres
won the U.S. 8-K title in 2005.
"This 8-k is all about a meeting of the best athletes from the mile to the marathon in the middle," said Wittenberg.