By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
PHILADELPHIA (21-Sep) — Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor, 41, didn’t come to Philadelphia to win the women’s race at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon here today but she certainly gave that impression in the early kilometers. Running behind Aberu Kebede of Ethiopia and Caroline Rotich of Kenya, Kastor was fewer than 30 seconds behind. It wasn’t until about 10 kilometers that she was forced to back off, and got her pace more in line with the world masters record of 1:09:56 set by Russia’s Irina Permitina in 2008.
“You know, I got a side stitch at about six miles, and so slowed down a little bit to try to breathe it out,” Kastor told Race Results Weekly. She continued: “But, I think I needed that little discomfort to make me hunker down just a little bit. It wasn’t as comfortable as I thought.”
While Kebede would leave Rotich about 11 kilometers into the race, and run to victory in a very solid, 1:08:39, Kastor worked through the pain and tried to stay on world record pace.
“I felt ready today,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d cut it this close; I thought I’d have a little more in me.”
As Rotich finished second in 1:09:20, the crowd assembled in the finish area began to roar in anticipation of Kastor’s finish. She came up the final grade and made the gentle left turn to the finish, crossing in 1:09:35, smashing Permitina’s record and running the second-fastest half-marathon by an American woman this year. She said the final kilometers were a real struggle.
“I wasn’t feeling great,” Kastor admitted. “I kept doing the math: I don’t have it, I do have it, no I don’t have it. I kept having that mental battle, am I on or am I off? Give up, or should I dig down? And, I ended up digging down for it. You don’t get this many chances, and dug down and was able to get under.”
Also running well today was Kara Goucher who, like Kastor, used today’s race to measure her fitness in advance of the TCS New York City Marathon on November 2. Goucher came home sixth in 1:11:39, inside of her goal of 72 minutes.
“Everything felt great,” Goucher told Race Results Weekly. “I just didn’t have, like, that really quick turnover, but I felt like I could have kept going if I had to. I just felt like I was maxed out at the pace I was at.”
Also noteworthy was the half-marathon debut of American Laura Thweatt, who finished fourth in 1:11:01.
Unofficial Top 10 Women’s Results Via Competitor Below. More results here.
Discuss this race in the LetsRun.com fan forum: Philly RnR Half Marathon – Baden Karoki 59:23 / Aberu Kebede 68:39 / Deena Kastor 69:39 NEW Masters WR!