Jonathan Gault wrote:
Cragg’s win at the 2016 Trials became more interesting in 2017 when it emerged that she had raced in a prototype version of Nike’s now-infamous Vaporfly racing flats. As more evidence comes in that shows that the Vaporflys boost running economy and provide a performance advantage, how much of an impact does Cragg believe the shoes make?
“I think they’re worth a lot just because if you can train in them, they kind of save your legs in training,” Cragg said. “I love them. I think they’re finally the shoe that’s worthy of the marathon. For a long time, people would take trainers, and they were just trying to make trainers lighter for the marathon. And we don’t do that for the 100 meters on the track, we don’t do that for any other event, really. But for some reason for the marathon, it was just like what we train in, but lighter.”
Cragg said that with the added cushioning and stability of the Vaporflys, her legs feel better in long workouts and, in particular, the end of races.
“I will say I feel a lot better in the last six miles [of a marathon] than I ever felt before,” Cragg said.
But for the 2016 Trials specifically, where Cragg (2:28:20) and training partner Shalane Flanagan (2:29:19) finished first and third in Vaporflys and Kara Goucher, racing in Skechers, finished fourth in 2:30:23), Cragg does not believe footwear dictated the outcome.
“In 2012, I was with a different shoe company (Brooks),” Cragg said. “I think Kara was running with Nike at the time (she was). I believe in 2012, when I was fourth, the three best women on that day made that team. I believe in 2016, the three best women on that day made the team. Honestly, the biggest contributing factor [in 2016] was not shoes, it was the heat.”