BEGLEY AND RUPP GET TO DRAMATIC USA 10,000M VICTORIES
By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
EUGENE (25-Jun) -- A terrific evening of middle and long distance
running on the first day of the USA Outdoor Championships here was
capped by emotional victories at 10,000m by Olympians Amy Begley and
Galen Rupp. Both runs were historic: Begley broke the stadium record
for the distance while Rupp became the first man ever to win the NCAA
and USA 10,000m titles in the same year.
"It was unbelievable to do it in a Duck uniform," said a teary-eyed
Rupp who ran his last race wearing the colors of the University of
Oregon. "I'll remember it for the rest of my life. It was just
Rupp had the easier time of the two champions. In an uneven race where
Abdi Abdirahman did most of the early leading, Rupp and two-time
Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein followed a mid-race move by James Carney and
broke clear of the field.
"I told James, 'let's keep it going,'" Ritzenhein said after the race.
Carney eventually faded (he would finish fourth), and while Tim Nelson
watched from a small distance back, Rupp stayed glued to Ritzenhein
until 500 meters to go when he made a strong move for victory.
"I was just trying to stay relaxed," said Rupp. "When it was time to go, I went. No doubt about it."
Rupp quickly put 20 meters on Ritzenhein who, after running the Flora London Marathon last April, hadn't done much speed work.
"I could tell on the last lap I hadn't done the 10-K workouts," said Ritzenhein. "I just tried to work as hard as I could."
Rupp crossed himself as he came out of the final turn, then started
pumping his right fist and acknowledged the cheers of the University of
Oregon crowd. He hit the finish in 27:52.53, comfortably ahead of
Ritzenhein (27:58.59) and Nelson (28:01.34). Under the USATF
qualifying scheme, all three athletes selected themselves for the USA
team for The IAAF World Championships. Both Rupp and Nelson had the
"A" standard of 27:47.00 coming into the race, and since the IAAF rules
allow for two "A" standard athletes and one "B" athlete, Ritzenhein is
For Begley, the reigning USA indoor 3000m champion who refers to
herself as a "grinder," she had the unusual experience of winning with
her sprint. In a plan hatched before the race, she and Olympic bronze
medalist Shalane Flanagan had agreed to trade the lead at least through
5 km, making sure the pace stayed honest. They shared their plan with
Katie McGregor who tethered herself to the two women and stayed with
them through 5 km (15:51.29) and 6 km (19:01.20).
"I just decided to ride the wave as long as I can," said McGregor.
McGregor fell back in the seventh kilometer, which went down in three
minutes and four seconds, leaving Begley and Flanagan to fight it out
for the win. It would come down to the bell lap, and Begley
surprisingly turned in the faster circuit: 67.19 seconds to Flanagan's
67.72. Begley credited coach Alberto Salazar for helping her improve
"I learned to sprint this year," said the former Arkansas Razorback who
almost quit the sport out of frustration two years ago. "It's
definitely been a good year for my speed."
Begley's 31:22.69 broke Flanagan's Hayward Field record of 31:34.81 set
at last year's Olympic Trials. Flanagan, who lost half a step trying
to get around a lapped runner in the final 100 meters, said she just
didn't have the zip in her legs to outsprint Begley. She did most of
her preparations for this meet at altitude in Flagstaff, Ariz., which
sometimes reduces leg speed.
"I felt her surge back on me and I tied up," said Flanagan who ran 31:23.43 for second place.
McGregor hung on for third and also qualified for the USA team for
Berlin. Her time of 32:08.04 was well under the IAAF "B" standard of
WEBB ADVANCES IN CHAOTIC 1500M QUALIFYING
A staggering 48 men lined up for four heats of the men's 1500m, and
when the dust had settled only a dozen had made it to Sunday's final.
Only the first two finishers of each heat advanced automatically, and
with a huge push to the line in the third heat, Alan Webb managed to be
one of them, just passing David Torrence in the final few meters.
"I just didn't want to leave it for time to make it to the final," said
Webb, who clocked 3:42.35. He said that "instinct" had taken over
allowing him to dig deep and pass Torrence.
Beijing Olympians Leonel Manzano and Lopez Lomong advanced by wining their heats, as did Will Leer and Dorian Ulrey.
All of the favorites advanced in the women's 1500m, led by Christin
Wurth-Thomas's 4:11.84. Wurth-Thomas's Beijing Olympic teammates
Shannon Rowbury and Erin Donohue also advanced, as did steeplechaser
Anna Willard who is doubling in this meet. Willard finished third in
her heat behind Wurth-Thomas and Tennessee's Sarah Bowman with a
well-controlled 66.2 second final lap.
"It's not supposed to be hard," said Willard as she strode through the mixed zone.
ONE AND DONE IN 800M FOR LAGAT
While Beijing Olympians Christian Smith, Khadevis Robinson and Nick
Symmonds (LRC note: Khadevis Robinson was not a 2008 Olympian) posted the fastest three times in 800m qualifying, Bernard
Lagat also advanced to the semi-finals by finishing third in the first
heat. But the reigning world champion in the 1500m and 5000m was only
using his 800m appearance to sharpen his racing form and to fulfill a
USATF requirement that he run in this national championship in order to
use his bye into the world meet as a reigning champion. He was hoping
for a fast time, but ran a middling 1:48.59.
"You know, it's hard to run 800m," said Lagat. He added: "This is it for me. I'm done. I'm going to pack now."
There were no surprises in the women's two-lap prelims. Favorites
Hazel Clark, Latavia Thomas, Katie Waits, Geena Gall, and Alysia
Johnson all advanced to the semi-finals.
HULING LEADS STEEPLECHASE QUALIFIERS
Daniel Huling led all men's steeplechase qualifiers with his 8:34.13
victory in the second heat, just ahead of Reebok teammate Brian Olinger
(8:34.85). Beijing Olympians Billy Nelson and Josh McAdams also
advanced, as did a resurgent Aaron Aguayo. Veteran Steve Slattery had
a tough day, finishing last in his heat in 9:34.00.
MEET CONTINUES TOMORROW
The highlight of the middle and long distance events on tomorrow's
program will be the men's and women's 5000m finals. Reigning champion
Kara Goucher will be in action on the women's side, and Matt Tegenkamp
and Anthony Famiglietti will be clashing in the men's race.