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Race Results Weekly Recap of Shalane Flanagan's American Record for 10,000m
By David Monti
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

PALO ALTO, Calif. (04-May) -- She'd never run a 10,000m race before, but Shalane Flanagan can safely say that she's already mastered the distance on only her first try.  Helped by excellent pacemaking provided by Kenya's Rose Kosgei and a spirited battle with New Zealand's Kim Smith which went right to homestretch, the 26 year-old Olympian toppled Deena Kastor's American record with a sparkling 30:34.49 clocking.

"Thanks to the New York Road Runners, they set me up with a rabbit and that gave me a cushion," Flanagan told a clutch of reporters after the race.  "It really worked out very well."

Kosgei, who won the Union-Tribune Race for Literacy 8-K this morning in San Diego in an easy 29:34, went a little too hard from the gun, dipping under 70 seconds for the first lap.  But the Kenyan with closely-cropped hair quickly settled down and started to tick off 73 to 74 second laps.  Flanagan tucked in right behind her, while Smith remained a few strides behind.  Smith slowly caught up, and the threesome passed halfway in about 15:14.  Kosgei went another lap and a half, leaving the two women to work together for the remaining laps.

"It was great to have Shalane," Smith said after the race.  "She runs the way I run.  She doesn't mind leading; she doesn't mind doing the work."

The two traded the lead, smoking through 8 km in 24:31.3, well under American record pace.  Flanagan was just a little stronger in the final lap, finishing just a few meters ahead of Smith who set an Oceana record of 30:35.54.  Kenya's Sally Kipyego was a distant third in 31:25.45, but the Texas Tech senior broke her own NCAA record of 31:56.72 set at this meet last year.  In all, ten women got under the Olympic Games "A" standard of 31:45.00.

Flanagan looked fresh after the race, happy but underwhelmed.  Asked whether tonight's time made her think differently of her American 5000m record of 14:44.80 set last year she said, "that it's weak."  She said that her training was "going in the right direction" and she could see getting down to the 14:30's now.

"It's great to shoot for goals and set some records," she said.

In the men's 10,000m, Craig Mottram showed his training is also going in the right direction.  The big Aussie ran patiently behind former training partner Mo Farah who did most of the leading after pacer Haron Lagat dropped out early.  Mottram methodically dropped the pace in the final six laps, running 2:42.7 for the ninth kilometer, closing in 64.8-61.0-59.2 for the final three laps.  His finish time of 27:34.48 was second-fastest by an Australian, just shy of Shaun Creighton's 1996 national record of 27:31.92.

"It was good," said Mottram.  "It was all right.  I just focused on five laps to go."

Austria's Guenther Weidlinger finished second in 27:36.46, a national record, and Kenyan Josphat Boit got third in a personal best 27:40.64.  A disappointed Farah finished fifth in his debut, but nonetheless got his Olympic "A" standard by running 27:44.54.

Mottram saw the race as providing an important mental boost for his 2008 campaign.  He said he entered tonight's race "just to compete, to learn to get back in and compete."

His long-time friend, Sonia O'Sullivan, agreed.  "He's walking on water, not treading it now," she quipped.

"Make sure you write that she said that and not me," Mottram said playfully.

Bernard Lagat also had a good meet, winning the 5000m in a very solid 13:16.29 and obtaining his all-important Olympic Games "A" standard prior to the U.S. Olympic Trials at the end of June.  Off of a solid pace set by Christian Hesch who ticked off 64-second laps until retiring six minutes into the race, Lagat was joined by Abdi Abdirahman, Boaz Cheboiywo, Boniface Songok and a surprising Brent Vaughn of the University of Colorado in the closing laps of the race.  Vaughn finished the strongest of Lagat's chasers, smashing his personal best and getting his Olympic Games "A" qualifier in 13:18.46.  Cheboiywo was third (13:19.21), Songok fourth (13:21.46) and Abdirahman fifth (13:23.79).

"At some point we were on 13:23 but I didn't panic," said Lagat who showed strong sprint speed in the final 200m.  He added: "I'm really pleased with my race."

Other key results included Shannon Rowbury's solo 4:07.59 personal best in the 1500m, just shy of the 4:07.00 Olympic "A" standard.  The top athletes in the men's 1500m were split into two separate races with Kevin Sullivan handily winning the first in 3:39.75 over Nick Symmons (3:40.98) and Matt Tegenkamp winning the second in a sprint to the line over Chris Lukezic, 3:40.04 to 3:40.29.  Emily Brown and Ari Lambi both ran personal bests in the 5000m, finishing 1-2 in 15:19.57 and 15:22.51.  Neither athlete has a shoe company sponsor.

"Hopefully, I catch someone's eyes," said the plain-spoken Brown who ran 9:45.38 in the steeplechase at the Drake Relays last weekend.  "Try to get something going."



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