McNAMARA DANCES TO FALMOUTH MILE WIN, WITH TEN MEN GOING SUB-FOUR

By Chris Lotsbom.
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

August 13, 2011

FALMOUTH, Mass. -- As the Elite Women's race here at the New Balance Falmouth Mile was finishing up --with Nicole Sifuentes taking the win in 4:31.98-- Oregon Track Club's Jordan McNamara was dancing to the music playing over the P.A. system.  Shaking out his legs to the beat, the 24-year-old from Auburn, Wash., didn't think he would be the one dancing as winner after the Elite Men's race which would be completed in a little over four minutes time.  But that's just what he did after breaking the tape in an event record and personal best of 3:54.89, with nine men following him under the four-minute mark.

"I was far from relaxed," said a smiling McNamara.  "I called my dad this morning and he said, 'Man are you nervous?  Your voice is shaking.' I said, 'I don't know.  I think there is potential for something special tonight.'"

It was indeed special.  In front of a large crowd lining the red and yellow track of Falmouth High School here, McNamara, joined by former University of Oregon teammate A.J. Acosta, went out behind the pacemakers, hitting 800m in 1:58.  For the next 300m (as planned), Acosta would do the leading duties, waiting for someone else to take over with one lap to go.  But when the bell rang at 2:58, no one wanted to break out from the large pack and assist him.

The recently graduated Acosta wound up leading the group for another 200m until McNamara unleashed his kick with a half-lap left.  Around the final bend, McNamara looked back three times, trying to assure himself he could reach the finish in front of Acosta and Jeff See, who were meters behind but closing.

McNamara did get to the line first, and busted his best move to Will Smith's "Gettin Jiggy With It" to celebrate the $3000 he earned for his victory ($2000 for the win plus $1000 for breaking four minutes).

"I was lucky, they were all coming for me.  I was fortunate," he said, still bouncing up and down to the music.

But, with all due respect to McNamara's moves, the real show was what was happening behind him.  With the pack so close together, everyone was jostling, trying to beat the clock and earn the $500 sub-four minute finishing bonus.

See led the charge in second, 3:55.24, with Acosta third in 3:55.30. After New Zealand Olympian Adrian Blincoe and American Craig Miller rounded out the top five (3:55.47 and 3:56.90, respectively), all hell broke loose.  Five men crossed the line in a matter of six-tenths of a second, including Christian Hesch in tenth place, breaking four-minutes for the first time.  This was the only other meet in the USA this year where ten men broke four minutes for the mile besides the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene where 20 men did so.

"That was unbelievable" said Hesch, beaming from ear to ear. "How often has the tenth-place finisher broken four-minutes, and for the first time?"

Hesch isn't done competing, though. He will run tomorrow's 7-mile New Balance Falmouth Road Race here, then take to the streets again next Sunday for the America's Finest City Half-Marathon in San Diego.

"If I get the Olympic Trials standard next weekend, then that will be a story," said Hesch who needs to run 65 minutes or better in San Diego to achieve that standard.  "Breaking four, then an Olympic Trials time in one week; I don't know of anyone who has done that."

Hesch said he is running under 50 miles a week because he is back in school.

In the women's race Sifuentes, the former Nicole Edwards, broke away from the lead pack late, taking the title for the second year in a row.  Brenda Martinez finished second in 4:32.29, with Erin Donohue placing third in 4:32.52.

"All I really cared about coming into it was winning," said the soft-spoken Canadian who won $3000 for her victory, including a $1000 bonus for sub-4:33. "No leading, just winning."

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