2011 Drake Relays Recap: Boaz Lalang Wins 2011 Drake Relays Mile Over Alan Webb
April 30, 2011
Kenya's Boaz Lalang, a 1:42.95 800m runner (Kenyan Olympic team member in 2008), captured the Drake Relays mile on Saturday in 3:58.26, as American record holder Alan Webb was 4th in 3:58.77.
2008 Olympian Christian Smith did the pacing duties the first three laps and took the field to the bell at 2:58.7. The honest pace in the windy conditions did nothing to break up the strong field which, in addition to Webb and Lalang, included S. African Peter Van der Westhuizen (Worlds semi-finalist in 2009, 3:35.33 PR), NCAA runner-up in the indoor mile and breakout 2011 sensation Chris O'Hare of Tulsa (he only ran 3:46 for 1,500 last year), and NCAA 800m champ and Texas Relays mile champ Fred Samoei of Alabama.
Lalang had the lead with 200m to go when the real racing began. Webb tried to move up on the outside but Tulsa's O'Hare came by Webb first. Webb drifted back towards the rail, which would cost him later. Coming into the homestretch Lalang continued to lead, O'Hare was trying to mount a challenge on the outside, Webb was behind Lalang on the rail, and Van der Westhuizen made his charge on the outside, boxing in Webb. Van der Westhuizen continued to challenge Lalang to the wire, but it was too little and too late, as Lalang got the win. Van der Westhuizen was a strong second, and O'Hare got the scalp of Alan Webb, although they both were credited with the same time of 3:58.77. Results and video of the final 200m below.
The Drake Relays represented Alan Webb's first races without a coach and without a sponsor. Webb parted ways with Alberto Salazar this spring and his shoe contract with Nike ended. Despite Webb's past successes, his tactical racing skills have always been a liability and that was the case on Saturday.
Afterwards Webb talked with the Des Moines Register (article here - a good read) about getting boxed in. He said, "I would have liked to been able to push harder. It's one of the few times I literally could not run as hard as I wanted to, because there was somebody right in front of me ... We had a pretty good weather day. It was real windy, though. I think I did well. All in all it was definitely a positive run."
The week was not a total disappointment for Alan, as on Tuesday he won the Drake Grand Blue Mile over Van der Westhuizen and Lalang. Interestingly, Lalang said Saturday on the Drake broadcast that he during the road mile he started kicking too early because he thought the finish was a couple of blocks before it was. Lalang said after the race that all the pre-race focus on Webb motivated him: "I think it (all the talk of Webb) is something that really motivated me. When I was checking over the Internet, everything was about Alan Webb."
Other Highlights: Jenny Barringer Wire-To-Wire, Jeremy Wariner Cruises, Adam Nelson Over 70 Feet For First Time Since 2008
In the women's 1,500m, American steeplechase record holder and sub-4:00 1,500m runner Jenny Barringer went gun-to-tape to get the win in 4:09.56 over 3-time US Champion Treniere Moser-Clement.
In the 400m, Drake regular Jeremy Wariner got the win in 45.19 (he ran 45.09 here in 2009 in his last appearance and went on to get a silver at Worlds).
In the shot put, Adam Nelson ahowed there may be some gas left in his career tank, as he went over 70 feet for the first time since 2008 to defeat Reese Hoffa.
Men's Mile Results Saturday At Drake
Final 200m Of Men's Mile At Drake
Women's 1,500m Results
1 Jenny Simpson USA 4:09.56 2 Treniere Moser-Clement Nike 4:11.58 3 Gabriele Anderson Brooks 4:12.35 4 Lauren Hagans Asics 4:16.87 5 Molly Beckwith Saucony 4:17.22 6 Heather Dorniden Asics 4:17.68 7 Paula Whiting SR Tulsa 4:19.78 8 Sarah Bowman USA 4:27.75 -- Heidi Dahl New Balance DNF