Chanelle Joins The Legends
Saturday Girls Distance Stories by SteveU
Girls 800: Chanelle Joins The Legends
800 megastar Chanelle Price PA’s 2:02.76 “Felt” Like a Record as She Moves to #4 All-Time
There aren’t too many events where you can move to “just” #4 on the all-time list and still achieve a legendary, almost mystical status. But Kim Gallagher’s 2:00.07 800 HSR is just so far out there, Mary Decker (2:02.29) is one of the great legends of the sport, and Robin Campbell (2:02.40) was a very special prodigy, as well. No one has cracked 2:03 in 25 years and, in fact, Rebekah Noble’s 2:03.73 two years ago is the only sub-2:04 since ’82.
So what Chanelle Price did Saturday was very, very special. And if it “felt” like a record … well, it should have.
Although Price has the ability and sense for good, even pacing, she often abandons this if she is so moved. It’s not a lack of control, as is the case with other runners, but doing purposefully doing what feels natural and what will benefit her in the big picture. So it was that she shot out into the lead from the start. Only a smidgeon slower than her flat 400 PR pace, she crossed 200 in 27.1. Sarah Cocco CO was also going for a very fast time, but even she only dared stay within about 30 meters of Chanelle at that point.
Price was 57.0 at 400 and now would begin her battle against fatigue and oxygen debt. Although a slowdown was inevitable, Price is one of the best in any event at holding form and minimizing the “positive” splits. She hit a mind-boggling 1:28.7 and the crowd, urging her on the whole way and now reaching a fever pitch (helped on by announcing), urged her home. She finally began to pay the price, but closed just hard enough to break that 2:03 barrier.
Behind Price, Cocco had suffered for trying to just stay within shouting distance early and would fade to 2:08.43 and 6th. But the group behind that, running more their own pace and perhaps still benefiting from Price’s stream, hit some impressive times; Dominque Jackson CA ducked under 2:06 with her PR 2:05.43 and Sarah McCurdy NY had a big breakthrough to 2:06.96. In the next-to-last section, Christal Washington FL had won a fine battle with Emma Miller-Bedell NY and hit a stunning 2:05.83 herself, surely the best non-seeded-final effort ever here, giving the meet three sub-2:06s.
But Price was in a galaxy all her own, and afterward she made it clear her early pace was not undisciplined folly, but a confident pushing of the limits as she prepares for bigger and better things – such as the USATF meet next weekend. No, Price is not going for a junior title; she’s racing the big girls.
“That’s how I like to run,” she said, before admitting, “I was looking for 58 or 59, so 57 was a little shocking.
“But I just went after it,” she added. “I just went all out and the crowd was really into it from the first lap. If it was not for the crowd, I would not have gone as fast.”
Her goal was originally 2:02-03 this year, but she confessed, “Now I’ve changed it to 2-flat or better.”