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LetsRun.com Recap: Jorge Torres, Shalane Flanagan Win 8k Titles in New York
By LetsRun.com
March 15, 2008
*Photo Gallery

Jorge Torres
Jorge Torres Gets the US 8k Title

In the men's race, Jorge Torres pushed away from Andrew Carlson over the final half mile, although Carlson stayed close, as Jorge got the win by less than a second. Pre-race favorite Alan Webb, led at 5k, then soon after stopped, tried to regain his form, but could not and finished 16th. Webb was suffering from the lingering effects of food poisoning he picked up at the pre race press conference on Thursday (Webb story and video from that here).

On the women's side, as expected, Shalane Flanagan, led wire to wire, getting a 16 second win (25:40 to 25:56) over Katie McGregor. Former Notre Dame star Molly Huddle was third.

We try and not reinvent the wheel at Letsrun, so if you want a longer recap of the races they are here. Results here, but what you really want, the LetsRun.com analysis, quotes, photos and video are below.

With New Steve Jones Led Training Group, Confident Jorge Torres Ready to Take on World
Jorge Torres continued his mastery of Alan Webb as Torres is likely the only guy in America who has raced Webb more than once and never lost. Afterwards, Torres was very pleased with his victory and full of praise for his new training group, the Steve Jones led Tempo Sports (Jones is the former World record holder in the marathon (2:08:05). Jones most impressive run may have been the 1985 Chicago Marathon (2:07:13) when he missed the world record by 1 second but ran the first half in a truly sick 1:01:40).

After the race Torres said, "My confidence is riding high. A lot of it has to do with two things. One, Steve Jones has really helped me build my confidence back up, he's given me some great advice, he's a good guy to listen to because he's been to the top of the world, and the other thing is I have good training partners and we're out there to help each other out and try and get to the top (his training partners are multiple time US Champ and Olympian Alan Culpepper, US 25k record holder Fernando Cabado, his twin brother Ed, and Andy Smith).

Video: Jorge Torres Talks About His Win
And His New Steve Jones Training Group (5:12)

Smith definitely has restored Torres confidence if Jorge's post race comments are any indication. Torres said up next is World Cross Country where he'll be hoping for a spot on the medal stand. He said, "You never know, if things go right, I have a shot at it, at a medal, you never know." Later he added when asked about muddy conditions expected in Scotland, "(At) those kind of races people go out too hard and fall back and next thing you know I'm in medal contention."

The muddy, course in Edinburgh definitely suits Torres compact style. Last year, when Torres was coached by Brad Hudson (who moved to coach Dathan Ritzenhein when Ritz moved from Boulder to Eugene), Hudson noted to us the day before the mud bath that was the greatest US XC Championships in history (with the greatest post race party as well), that Torres was perfectly suited for the mud and had always done well in it.

Torres was the second horse in the Hudson stable (Ritzenhein the #1), but now with Steve Jones, Torres is more of the focus. Jorge said, "I finally have a coach that's there on a daily basis and will do whatever it takes for me to get ahead...Having Steve Jones (as a coach is great, he's), the world record holder, he knows what he's talking about, he's good, he's confident...."

Torres heads back to Boulder and then midweek the week of the World Cross Country Champs he'll head over to Scotland.

Video: Shalane Flanagan (5:12)
Shalane Flanagan Pretty Dominant
The women's race was never in doubt. Flanagan led at the mile by 3 seconds and would only extend her lead. She like, men's pre race favorite, Alan Webb, had suffered some problems from the food she ate at Thursday's press conference at Tavern on the Green (story, quotes, video from Shalane from that here), one of New York's most famous restaurants.

The intestinal problems did not seem to slow her down on Sunday, although it's hard to tell because Flanagan is clearly a step multiple steps ahead of everyone else in the US right now, except for perhaps Deena Kastor.

Flanagan was pleased with her effort, "This year (I'm trying) to race pretty aggressively. It's nice to test the waters a little bit.. It's good to make sure the training and racing are going hand in hand."

Shalane Flanagan
Shalane Flanagan Winning Again

Flanagan said in races she tries not to run paces she has not touched on in practice, "I really did get in a zone. I found a comfortable pace and stuck with it. I try and run a pace that is similar to a workout. I never would want to experiment or go faster than a pace I have run in a workout. I kind of approached today as a hard workout."

Flanagan said one of the benefits of a race was that she gets to "practice running against other people." When Jim Gerwick of Running Times pointed out that Flanagan was in front the whole way and not with other people, Flanagan said just having Katie McGregor close helped, "Maybe that is not exactly what I did today (run with others), but Katie was there a while."

Shalane will stay in the United States now and has ruled out going back to Mexico, although she may do another altitude stint in the United States. Up next for her is a "really nice, fast 10k at Stanford (May 4th)," as Flanagan is skipping World Cross to keep herself focused on her preparations for the Olympic Track Trials.

Flanagan is adding the 10k this year as a possible backup for the Olympics (her main event is the 5000m). She said, "(One of) my goals this year was to run a really good 10k and to leave that as an option for the Olympics as a backup." The way Flanagan is looking so far in 2008, she won't need a back up plan at the Olympic Trials.

Video: Alan Webb Talks About His Race (4:27)
Tavern on the Green, Not Alan Webb's Favorite Tourist Spot
Tavern on the Green is a spot many tourists put on their must see list in New York. Alan Webb is probably crossing it off his. Webb began feeling sick Thursday night and blamed it on the palatial spread at Thursday's press conference at Tavern on the Green.

Webb's camp discussed him pulling out of the meet, but Webb felt better as time passed and his coach Scott Raczko said Webb looked fine in the warm-ups so Webb gave it a go.

Webb led the race early on and was first across 5k (he would have picked up at $1250 prime for this, but since he finished out of the top 10 he doesn't 'get it). But soon after 5k Webb began to have his problems. He stopped running at one point, hoping to somehow get out of his malaise, but it didn't work. He still finished the race, but in 16th place (Webb lost 50 seconds the last 2 miles).

Webb said afterwards, "I felt really good at the beginning. I was right at the front and making sure I was right in the money... I felt really great around three miles... I thought I could get on the front and start pushing it from the front of the race, but then it was kind of a weird feeling where it fell apart really quickly. I was like 'Whoa, whoa, whoa. Take a deep breath for a quarter mile and get it going again', but something was going on and it wasn't going to happen."

Webb, like almost everyone else in his camp did not seem too concerned about the mild sickness, as from all indications his fitness is very good. Webb was even pleased with how far he made it considering how bad he felt at the end, "I think my fitness is pretty good because I made it that far (having food poisoning)."

Video: Alan Webb and Scott Raczko Talk About Webb's 1:43.84
Scott Raczko Talks About Alan Webb's Future Plans
Wejo spoke to Alan Webb's coach Scott Raczko after the race (pre race he also talked to Razcko (and Webb) about Webb's 1:43 800 last year where Raczko even admitted to being surprised to how fast he Webb ran. The portion of Racko and Webb's interview dealing with this is to the right).

Razcko indicated to minimize the wear and tear on Alan in terms of travel that Webb likely would stick to racing in the US this year prior to the Olympic Trials. That means Webb would not run 2 Golden League meets, Berlin (which got moved to the front of the series this year (June 1), or the Dream Mile in Oslo (June 6th)). (In all its infinite wisdom the IAAF allowed the Prefontaine Classic to be 2 days after Oslo which makes competing in both events a nightmare. Nike contractually makes a lot of athletes run Prefontaine, so it looks like Oslo will be a bit watered down as will Prefontaine)

Raczko said Webb's plans were not set in stone but that likely his next race would be a 5000m at the Cardinal Invite (May 4th). He mentioned an 800 at the Reebok Grand Prix (June 1, the week before Prefontaine) as a possibility as well.

He also talked about how much better the 1500 is in America than it was just a few years ago and how Bernard Lagat's double is very difficult. This year Lagat has an extra race to contend with at the US Trials (3 rounds of the 1500 instead of 2). Raczko pointed out that in a 3:38 type race, there are a lot of guys who could contend for the crown. (Which may explain why Webb and Lagat pushed the pace last year at the US Champs to make sure they would be booking their ticket to Worlds).

Andrew Carlson and Pack
James Carney, Alan Webb, Jorge Torres
(in middle in White) and Andre Carlson (AC)


Andrew Carlson Has Officially Arrived
Andrew Carlson has officially arrived at the top of US distance running. Last week he won the US 15k champs, and he finished second here. The serious part of Carlson's 2008 season (he ran a road race in Canada in January we're not considering) started out on a disappointing note. He was 15th at the US Cross Country Champs in San Diego.

However, that disappointment helped jumpstart Carlson and now his career as at a new level thanks to his runs the last two weekends. Carlson said of his US Cross run, "After cross that lit a fire underneath me. I was pretty mad and I've kind of taken that out the last two weeks." He joked if this had been US Cross he would have "been on the other side of Central Park" when Jorge Torres finished (at cross he was 1:10 behind Jorge Torres, today less than a second).

He talked of his new found confidence, "I'm sick of just sitting back and letting other people do it (the work), so now if I feel good I just want to go to the front..."

Carlson said this year he has backed off a little bit away from trying really high mileage. He said the high mileage "worked a little bit" but clearly things are going much better this year running less miles.

Up next is the Stanford Invite (1st week of April), but he joked he should find a road race considering his recent success on the roads.
*Video of our interview with Carlson is here (but the audio is hard to pick up as Jorge was being interviewed right next to us)

Video: Jason Hartmann (2:07)
Jason Hartmann Continuing to Show Progress
Dathan Ritzenhein's high school teammate and sometimes training partner (often on easy runs, they share Brad Hudson as a coach), Jason Hartmann, was a very respectable third in the race. Hartmann ran the Olympic Marathon Trials and his strength training helped him on the rolling Central Park Course (let's all take a moment to pause and realize Ryan Hall ran 2:09:02 for a full marathon, with a 1:02:45 second half, looping over the same difficult course as today's 8k). Hartmann said after the race, "Its definitely a strength runner's course and I knew I was strong coming in and I tried to mix things up with guys who have run faster than me... You've got to beat those guys if you want to make a(n Olympic) team".

Hartmann may run the US road 10k champs in Richmond but definitely is running at Stanford the first week in May.

Katie McGregor Pleased With Her Runner-Up Finish, Excited for World Cross Country
Katie McGregor hang much closer to Shalane Flanagan than anyone else has this year only finishing 16 seconds back. McGregor said afterwards, "I felt like she was pretty close most of the race until the last mile or two... Overall I ran a smart race, (but) I wish I could have stayed a little closer and been within a shot of her at the end." She noted that Shalane looked really good. McGregor said, "She (Shalane) looked great. She looked like she was just out there for a jog."

Video: Katie McGregor (3:21)

With a Flanagan, a McGregor, and a Notre Dame Star (Molly Huddle) going 1-2-3 the weekend before St. Patrick's day, McGregor said, "Maybe we had the luck of the Irish on our side this weekend."

Up next is World Cross Country for McGregor and Molly Huddle. McGregor says the US has a strong team, as she pointed out all the top finishers at US Cross except for Shalane and Blake Russell (Olympic Marathon trials next month) are running worlds. Katie said, "Molly is on the team, so I think we're going to have a really good team in Scotland."

*Results and Prize Money Here
David Monti's Race Results Weekly Recap

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