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A Fan's Guide To The 2009 Reebok Boston Indoor Games
Women's Mid-D & Distance Events

By LetsRun.com

Feb 5, 2009 - Recently, we've come to the official conclusion that track isn't more popular because it's rarely presented properly. For a race to be truly compelling, people need to have a ton of information about the event and the main participants. If people know the story lines involved in the race, then it's interesting. If they don't, then it's not.

In our minds, information creates drama, which creates entertainment.

In that light, we hope to give you, the visitors of LetsRun.com, the story lines for the major meets this year. This is our first attempt, so hopefully it's goes alright. Below you will find a preview of the Reebok Boston Indoor Games women's distance events. To see the men's distance preview, click here. To see the sprint/field events, click here. New: If you are going to the meet and would like to have everything in one document listed in the order the events take place so you can print it out and use it as a program, click here.

Women's 5,000: An American Record In the Making?

WOMEN'S 5000 METERS        

Are you down about the fact that the greatest female distance runner on the planet in double Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba was a late pullout of the meet? Don't be.

We fully expect this may turn into an American record attempt for Shalane Flanagan. Fresh off her inspirational bronze medal in the 10k at the Olympics, Flanagan is making her 2009 debut in her hometown. Considering her outdoor American record in the 5k is 14:44.80, Flanagan won't even have to be in tiptop shape to get the record. The American indoor record is nearly 8 years old and still belongs to Marla Runyan at 15:07.44. Flanagan ran an American record 30:22.22 for 10k to get bronze in Beijing. All she has to do is run her 10k pace and she'll be able to kick and get it. Seeing her bust 15:00 here is a likelihood in our minds.

But a victory and American record aren't 100% sure things. We find it unbelievable that Flanagan has dumped her coach, John Cook, just after getting a bronze medal at the Olympics and have no idea what that means about her fitness. Additionally, some others in the field are pretty talented.

Others to watch are led by 2008 Olympic 5k finalist Jen Rhines and Ethiopian Sentayehu Ejigu. Rhines ran a PB of 14:54.29 outdoors at the age of 34 and seems to be aging like a fine wine. Ejigu has run 14:35 before and she's gone sub-15:00 in Boston (14:58), but those great performances were done in 2004. Is she fit again in 2009? She's only 23, so it's very possible.

Former Villanova star Marina Muncan, who was 2nd in the Millrose mile last week, appears to be the rabbit. That right there shows you how good Tirunesh Dibaba is. To have someone rabbit her, they need someone who is 2nd in the Millrose Games mile. Dibaba's world record of 14:27.42 is 4:37+ pace per 1,600. Unreal. 15:00 is 4:48 pace for 1,600.

LetsRun.com Prediction: Flanagan gets the win and the American Record. 1) Flanagan 2) Rhines 4) Ejigu

METRO Women's 800 Meters: Olympic Trials Rematch


The women's 800 features the top two finishers from last year's Olympic Trials in Hazel Clark and Alice Schmidt. Clark, a 3-time Olympian and the 2008 OTrials champ, is running an indoor 800 for the first time since 2006. Probably since she is getting up there in age, 31, she doesn't want to go too long without keeping in touch with her speed.

Since Schmidt is 4 years younger than Clark, we're giving her the edge in this one. In an indoor 800, a lot of people could challenge for the win. Nikeya Green, who ran 2:02.68 to win the USATF indoor title in Boston in 2007, might step it up and contend here.

We're particularly interested in seeing how Treniere Clement and Katie Waits look. Heading into last year, Clement was the reigning 3-time US 1,500 champ but she picked a terrible time to have an awful year. Will she rebound in 2009? It's hard to say. She did run an indoor 3k in 9:31 a few weeks ago, which is an OK time (she ran a 9:26 in 2005), but getting beaten by 20 seconds by Sarah Bowman probably wasn't in the plan. As is the case for Alan Webb, in our minds this race is a big one to get her confidence back given how she ran last year.

Waits was on fire in 2007 as she was the NCAA runner-up in 1:59. She almost certainly would have made the Worlds that year but she skipped USATF to get married. In her first season as a pro, she never found her rhythm last year and only had a SB of 2:02.38.

Canadian Leanna Maclean only has a PB of 2:04 and Karen Shinkins, the Irish record holder in the indoor 400, is probably the rabbit as she's 32 and has never run an 800 in her life.

LetsRun.com Prediction: A hard one to predict since no one really has raced yet. 1) Schmidt 2) Clark 3) Waits

Women's 3k: Get Ready For The Kara Goucher Show!!!


Having watched her just destroy the Millrose mile field last week and knowing she was running the 3k this week, we fully expected this to be the Kara Goucher show. Then we looked at the field and thought, "Wow, she might have a race here."

Leading the charge would likely be Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego. Kipyego, the most decorated women's distance runner in collegiate history with 8 titles, certainly isn't chopped liver as she's run 4:06.67 for 1,500, 8:56.72 for 3k and 15:11 for 5k.

The being said, Goucher's PBs are 4:05.14, 8:34.99 (outdoors) and 14:55.02. Goucher, a 2007 Worlds bronze medallist at 10k, is one of the best female distance runners on the planet. Kipyego has the potential to be in that class. Additionally, we just realized that Kipyego ran here last year and was dead last in 9:05.

2008 US Olympian Christin Wurth-Thomas ran 8:54.97 last year here for 4th before going on to have a great year. If this was a 1,500 or mile, we think you'd have a good race between Wurth-Thomas and Goucher but 3k is a bit far for Wurth-Thomas. She could do some damage if Goucher is having an off day. Amy Mortimer set her 3k PB of 8:55.72 last July in Ireland, so she can't be ignored either.

LetsRun.com Prediction: Upon further review, we don't think Goucher will be challenged. She looked amazing last week at Millrose and since we are big believers that Strength = Speed, we will throw out that the American record for the indoor 3k is 8:34.99 set by Shalane Flanagan two years ago at this very same meet. Goucher's outdoor PB isn't too far off that.

Reebok Women's Mile Run: A Repeat From 2008


We were very excited about the race as we thought it might be the U.S. unveiling of teen phenom 17-year-old Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahegn, who is only 127 days older than Jordan Hasay but has a 1,500 PB that is 4.36 seconds better than Hasay's (4:10.14 to 4:14.50). But Kalkidan was a late pullout (if you want to read about how good she is, see the part we scratched out below as we spent a ton of time researching her).

The favorite has to be Australia's Sarah Jamieson. She's got the best PB in the field at 4:00.93 for 1,500 and she had the best 2008 campaign as she ran 4:02 last year. She is 33, however, so age may start to catch up with her soon.

Who could challenge her?

Ethiopia's Mestawot Tadesse has the 2nd best PB in the field at 4:04 and she did run pretty well to get third in the Millrose mile last week in 4:38. It looks like she's well on her way to having a much better 2009 than 2008 as last year, she only ran 4:12 for a seasonal best. She was also a non-factor in Boston last year as she was just 7th. The 4th placer at Millrose was Great Britian's Barbara Parker, who also ran 4:38. She's in good form but her personal best is only 4:12 for 1,500. Both Parker and Tadesse could be factors in our minds.

We're ruling out a lot of others for the win. Irish steeplechase national record holder Roisen McGettigan was an Olympic finalist last year but in our minds the mile is just too short of event for her to win. American Lindsey Gallo has run 4:07 in the past and she's recently relocated to the Washington, DC area, so it will be interesting to see how she responds to the new training environment but the 2:10 800 she ran last month doesn't make us real confident in thinking she's race sharp. Ireland's Kelly McNeice barely broke 5 (4:56.99) at Millrose, so we're ruling her out here and Ireland's Erica Fountain only ran 2:09.85 for 800 two weeks ago.

That leaves us with only one person left to discuss. 17-year-old Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahegn is a wild card in our minds. We're sure you've never heard of her but you probably should have. If she were an American, she'd be a big, big deal. Currently, the LRC message board is going crazy about Jordan Hasay having made her college choice. Well, Gezahegn is only 127 days older than Hasay and Hezahegn's PB is 4.36 seconds better than Hasay's (4:10.14 to 4:14.50).

In Britain, everyone is gaga about 19-year-old Stephanie Twell. Well, virtually no one (except us) realizes that Gezahegn and Twell raced this year at the Bupa Great Edinburgh International on January 10th. You can be forgiven for not realizing Gezahegn raced there as the IAAF recap left her out of the results, but she finished just 2 seconds behind Twell in 5th in 19:18 - some 14 seconds up on American Emily Brown.

4:10 for 1,500 is very fast at age 17. She may be the real deal. It will be interesting to see how she does in Boston as this is her first-ever indoor race, but we're very excited to see her race.

LetsRun.com Prediction: 1) Jamieson 2) Tadesse 3) Parker

Reebok Girls HS Mile
Annually this is one of the best HS races of the year. Rather than tell you all about it, you can find more info in the following video preview at dyestat.com. The field is a good one and includes:

Emily Jones
Harvard, MA, USA
Brianna Welch
Glen Head, NY, USA
Jessica Parry
London, ON, CAN
Cory Ann McGee
Pass Christian, MS, USA
Emily Lipari
Roslyn, NY, USA
Amanda Winslow
Lawrenceville, GA, USA
Alyssa Allison
Herculaneum, MO, USA
Stephanie Brown
Downs, IL, USA
Brittany Koziara
Orlando, FL, USA
Shelby Greany
Suffern, NY, USA
Bridgett Dahlberg Newton, MA, USA

To see the men's distance preview, click here. To see the sprint/field events, click here. New: If you are going to the meet and would like to have everything in one document listed in the order the events take place so you can print it out and use it as a program, click here.

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