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LRC 2008 Adidas Track Classic Recap
May 19, 2008
by: LetsRun.com
*Photo Gallery

The 2008 adidas Track Classic was a once again a fantastic meet from a track and field performance perspective. We're not really a sprint or field event site but the sprint action was very, very good and Jenn Stuczynski was fabulous in the pole vault so we'll briefly mention it here before recapping the distance action.

In the women's pole vault Jenn Stuczynski broke her own American record in the pole vault as she went 16' 0", and she came surprisingly close to breaking Yelena Isinbayeva's world record in the vault. Isinbayeva has dominated the women's vault the last few years, but Stuczynski now is a formidable competitor just in time for the Olympics.

Turing to the track, the photo-finish from the women's 100 meters at the world championship repeated itself as Veronica Campbell edged Lauren Williams once again (11.14 to 11.15). Allyson Felix who went sub 11 for the first time ever last weekend in Qatar (video here), finished 4th in 11.21 and then pulled out of the 200 as she had a tough week with the death of her boyfriend's father. In the women's 200, Muna Lee put up a world leader (20.30).

Tyson Gay Impresses
On the men's side, one really got to see just exactly why Tyson Gay was the double world champion last year and is the best championship sprinter on the planet. People who think world class sprinting is all about pure physical ability need to find a tape of the ESPN telecast of the adidas meet and we imagine they'll change their minds.

In the men's 100, Tyson was given all he could handle by American Darvis Patton, but Gay, remained calm throughout. Two false-starts. No problem. Patton taking the lead 10 meters from the finish. No problem, no panic, just a great lean and a victory in 10.05 to Patton's 10.06. Watching that race made us wonder how Gay's rival Asafa Powell, who is known to panic in tight spots, would have fared.

Tyson Gay in the 200
Tyson Gay in the 200

The performance really showed why Gay is so good. Yes, he's talented. But he really gets the most out of his talent and has a great head on his shoulders. In the post-race interview, he revealed mentally how focused he is in a race. He admitted he was "twitching a little bit in the blocks," but he stayed calm, didn't get DQ'd and got the win.

The performance was great. It's just too bad that the commentators Larry Rawson and Dwight Stones tried to put a damper on it by saying before the men's 200 that Gay likely was disappointed with his 100 showing. We're not sure why someone who wasn't great at 100 meters until last year would be disappointed with a 10.05 opener into a head-wind. We're not sure why the commentators said Gay was disappointed when Gay himself seemed very pleased and had just said in the post-race interview that he was happy. Gay said of his win, "It helps me a lot because it's about the victory. The more I win the more confidence I have."

Gay's win in the men's 200 was simply a thing of beauty. Maybe the 100 got Gay warmed up as he simply was sensational. He ran an unbelievable first 150 meters and just coasted to the finish line, winning in 20.08 to the X Man's 20.30. If Gay had run hard, he easily could have run 19.8 or even faster. It looked totally effortless.

In the men's 400m, Jeremy Wariner won as he always does. Wariner is so good that his win by .29 seconds seemed unusually close (he won Worlds by .51 seconds). Canadian Tyler Christopher was closing on Wariner at the end. So Wariner runs a bad race (he told the AFP that, "I got out slower than I'm used to" because he didn't want to pull something before the Olympic Trials) and he still wins by nearly 3 tenths of a second.

But enough with the sprint action. This is a distance oriented site so let's recap the distance action.

Shannon Rowbury

Women's 1,500: Rowbury Amazes
This race was simply the Shannon Rowbury show. The former Duke runner who just missed the Olympic A standard with her dominating 4:07.59 victory at Stanford, had no problem with the A standard on Sunday as Rowbury obliterated the field with a sensational performance.

The race got underway with some terrible pacemaking as Korene Hinds took it out in sub 30 for the first 200. Most of the field was smart enough to realize the pace was way, way too hot as they stayed way behind Hinds as the field went through 200 in about 31 flat as compared to Hind's 29 low. Sara Hall wasn't so fortunate as she went with Hinds and ended up really paying the price, finishing last in 4:25.26. At 400, Hinds was still on her ridiculous pace (61.1) with Hall right behind her. Most of the field was running much smarter as they hit the 400 in about 64 which is a little too fast for most of them (4:07.00 is 66 pace) but not crazy stupid like 61. Rowbury was running well early as she hit 400 in 63ish.

Hinds slowed way down on the next 400 and Rowbury caught her and was right on her heels at 800 (2:09.5). Despite the fact that Hinds ran the first lap in 61.1 and the 2nd on in 68.4, the tv commentators described her pacing as being "a great job". We couldn't disagree more.

Shannon Rowbury
This is the Key to 4:01

Anyway, after that, it was all Shannon Rowbury. Rowbury his 1200 (3:13.9) and still had plenty in the tank as she ran 31.5 for her last 300 to finish in 4:01.61 - the fastest time by an American in 6 years. Christin Wurth-Thomas was a badly beaten 2nd , but we doubt she'll care as her 4:04.94 was well under the Olympic A standard of 4:07.00. Australia's Lisa Corrigan who already hit the A standard last year was 3rd in 4:06.97. 4th placer, Lindsey Gallo, who has a 4:05 pr from 2005, didn't get the A standard she was looking for.

But the day clearly belonged to Rowbury. In two weeks, she's dropped her PR from 4:12.31 to 4:01.61. Yes that's right. Nearly 11 seconds. Unbelievable. Make that UNBELIEVABLE. The Olympics should no longer be a goal for Rowbury. She's should now up her sights on a medal.


  1 Shannon Rowbury              USA                    4:01.61
  2 Christin Wurth-Thomas        USA                    4:04.94
  3 Lisa Corrigan                AUS                    4:06.97
  4 Lindsey Gallo                USA                    4:08.43
  5 Jenelle Deatherage           USA                    4:08.84
  6 Carmen Douma-Hussar          CAN                    4:09.74
  7 Marina Muncan                SRB                    4:09.75
  8 Malindi Elmore               CAN                    4:13.81
  9 Alice Schmidt                USA                    4:15.36
 10 Carrie Tollefson             USA                    4:19.54
 11 Sara Hall                    USA                    4:25.26
 -- Korene Hinds                 JAM                        DNF
 -- Kenia Sinclair               JAM                        DNF

Nutrilite Men's 1,500: Lagat Wins
The men's 1,500 lived up to our billing it as being a must-see event. The stacked field produced fast early season times and a very competitive race. Certainly can't complain about that.

The race was brought back after the field had run nearly 100 meters as Nate Brannen and Lopez Lomong were involved in a bad collision that threw them both down to the track. In the scramble too avoid them, Nick Symmonds was spiked on his right knee and blood was visibly pouring from his wounds when the race restarted.

Once the field got going, Cornell's Jim Wyner, looking good in a LetsRun.com singlet, took the field through 400 in 56.2 and 800 in 1:54.3. At 800, 2004 Olympian Grant Robison took the field through 1100 (likely 2:38) as 1200 was hit 2:53.8. With 300 to go, we actually had a rarity, a fast time and a real race as Lomong, double world champ Bernard Lagat and Nick Willis were literally running three abreast. With 200 to go (3:08.3), Willis was in the lead, followed by Lomong on the inside with Lagat on his outside with Kevin Sullivan in 4th. Lagat waited until about 70 to go to take the lead and he powered home for the win in 3:35.14 (26.7 last 200 for Lagat). Willis held on for 2nd as Sullivan and Lomong traded places (Sullivan 3rd - 3:35.78, Lomong - 3:36.36). Lomong hit the A standard for the first time.

After the race Lagat was happy. "I'm pleased with my performance today so that mean's my training has been going well," he said on the telecast.

In our pre-race preview, we said the race would answer several questions. We thought it would be useful to go back and see if it did answer the questions we asked in our preview.

Lagat and Willis

1. How fit is Bernard Lagat? Very, very fit. We'd be shocked if he didn't make the Olympic team.
2. Is our hyping of Lopez Lomong justified? Yes. He's not quite in Lagat's league in an honest paced-race yet but who is. Lomong is for real.
3. How do Jon Rankin and Chris Lukezic look and stack up against Lomong? Might we have a big 6? Rankin ended up 5th - just .25 behind Lomong. He is running well early in the season and likely will be a factor at the trials. Lukezic didn't run so it's hard to know how he'd stack up so let's say we have a big 5 for now.
4. Does Nick Symmonds have a future at 1,500? We don't know. If you didn't see the race and just looked at the results, the answer would be no as Symmonds dropped out just past the 1100 meter mark. However, he was spiked badly and was visibly limping after the collision so we imagine that greatly hindered his performance. Especially when he told the LA Times, "I need stitches." We guess we'll find out next race.

In terms of the international story line:

1) How will Nick Willis look against the big boys and will he put himself in contention early? Willis looked good. Yes he put himself in contention and we were thrilled to see him go to the lead with 300 to go. In the past, critics has argued he was unwilling to mix it up with the big boys. No so on Sunday although the pace wasn't as hot as it is in the middle of the summer in Europe.
2) Can Nate Brannen hit the Olympic A standard that he needs?
Nope, but he's not that far off.
3) Can the 34-year-old ageless wonder Kevin Sullivan keep on doing it?
Yes. He's now run at least 3:35 in the 1,500 14 years I a row. Every year since 1995. Very impressive.

Outside Coverage: *NY Times on Men's 1500 (Plus They Have Details on a Recent Lagat Workout (2.5 Miles, (3 minutes rest) 1.5 Miles, (3 minutes rest), 1 mile)

Bernard Lagat USA 3:35.14
Nick Willis
Kevin Sullivan
Lopez Lomong
Jon Rankin
Nate Brannen
Boaz Cheboiywo
Will Leer
Mark Fountain AUS
10 Nick Bromley
Grant Robison
Jim Wyner
Nick Symmonds
Brad Woods

Men's 3000: Rupp Gets It Done
We totally wrote off Galen Rupp in our 3000m preview and the Kid proved us wrong as he powered ahead the final straight for the win over Olympian Jonathon Riley.

Name Nat/Team Finals

Rupp Making Us Look Bad

1 Galen Rupp USA 7:51.17
Jonathon Riley
Josh Rohatinsky
Ian Dobson
Kyle King
Josphat Boit
Collis Birmingham
Luke Watson
Ricky Barnes
Rob Myers
Ryan Kirkpatrick USA

Women's 3000: Metcalfe as Predicted
We may have made out first mistake of the year with our men's 3k prediction, but we got the women's 3k right Canada's Megan Metcalfe got the win. 17 year old world junior XC champ Genzebe Dibaba finished 2nd.

Kara Goucher is trying to get back into last year's form where she won the bronze at the Worlds (Goucher didn't really start running great until August last year). She ran 9:00.54 for 4th after pulling out of the 10k at Stanford 2 weeks ago.

Event 26  Women 3000 Meter Run
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
  1 Meagan Metcalfe              CAN                    8:51.97
  2 Genzebe Dibaba               ETH                    8:53.72
  3 Jen Rhines                   USA                    8:56.26
  4 Kara Goucher                 USA                    9:00.53
  5 Ariana Lambie                USA                    9:09.11
  6 Amy Yoder-Begley             USA                    9:16.48
  7 Eloise Wellings              AUS                    9:24.96
  8 Amy Hastings                 USA                    9:27.43

*All Photos above from Photorun.net

*Photo Gallery

NY Times on Bernard Lagat's Win in the 1500 The Times article says the temperature on the track was 110 degrees.
*LA Times Recap of Adidas Meet With Focus on Allyson Felix
*Jenn Stuczynski Gets American Record, Goes Over 16 Feet, Comes Close to World Record at Adidas Meet

*LA Times Profile: Allyson Felix Ready to Take on World With College Degree in Hand

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