The Track Meet Day 2 Recap: Eric Jenkins (27:22) & Rachel Schneider (31:09) Win 10ks as 12 Athletes Hit Olympic Standard

By Jonathan Gault
December 6, 2020

There aren’t many world-class 10,000-meter races held around the world each year. Fewer still on United States soil. Which meant that the second night at Sound Running’s Track Meet on Saturday in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., was particularly important for anyone lined up to chase an Olympic standard. With near-perfect conditions (50 degrees Fahrenheit, 2 mph wind), deep fields, and fast pacemakers, the opportunity to run very, very fast was there for the taking and the races did not disappoint. In all, eight women and four men hit the tough Olympic standards of 31:25.00 and 27:28.00, led by race winners Rachel Schneider (31:09.79) and Eric Jenkins (27:22.06), both of whom moved into the top 10 on the US all-time list. There was also an Australian record for Patrick Tiernan, who finished runner-up behind Jenkins in 27:22.55.

We recap the top action for you below. *Full results of all heats here.

Women’s 10,000: Eight women (six Americans) hit Olympic standard

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Entering tonight’s race, just three Americans (Marielle Hall, Emily Sisson, and Molly Huddle) had hit the Olympic standard of 31:25.00. That amount just tripled as six Americans — and eight women in total — broke 31:25 tonight.

Schneider led a train of Olympic standards (Photo by Justin Britton)

The field had some terrific rabbitting from Emily Lipari, who doubled back from the 5k last night. The other pacer, Dana Giordano of the BAA, took the field through 4k slightly behind pace, but once she stepped off, Lipari got the field back on track and lasted 6400 meters before finally dropping out. From there, the BAA’s Erika Kemp and, eventually, On Athletics Club’s Alicia Monson took over, with Monson driving the pace for most of the final two miles.

Monson strung it out so that only six women remained at the bell, but it was clear that all six would be under the standard, so over the final lap, we finally got some racing. As the leaders lapped slower runners, it was Rachel Schneider — the Georgetown alum who made Worlds in the 5k last year — who kicked best, using her 4:02 1500 speed to outrun 2019 NCAA champ Weini Kelati (making her pro debut for Under Armour Dark Sky Distance) and win in 31:09.79 (66.24 last lap).

In addition to Schneider and Kelati, Monson, 2018 NCAA champ Sharon Lokedi, 2012 NCAA champ Natosha Rogers, and the HOKA NAZ Elite trio of Kellyn Taylor, Dani Shanahan, and Stephanie Bruce all went under the standard.

Schneider (#7, 31:09.79), Monson (#9, 31:10.84), and Rogers (#10, 31:12.28) all cracked the US all-time top 10 with their runs tonight, while the former New Mexico runner Kelati’s 31:10.08 would have broken Lisa Uhl’s 31:18.07 collegiate record had she not turned pro earlier this week.

In all, 15 of the top 16 ran personal bests (Taylor has run faster in a mixed race). The biggest surprise of the night was Shanahan, an alum of nearby Loyola Marymount who took a minute off her 32:22 pb from last year to finish 7th in 31:22.86.

Men’s 10,000: Jenkins wins it as Tiernan gets Aussie record

Jenkins FTW (Photo by Justin Britton)

Brit Sam Atkin, who ran 13:18 to just miss the Olympic standard in the 5k last night, was the main pacer in this one and led the pack through slightly behind pace through 4800 meters (they came through in 13:15.40, or 27:37 pace; the Olympic standard is 27:28.00). Rather than drop out, however, Atkin elected to stay in the race, sliding back and allowing the Oregon Track Club’s Patrick Tiernan and former Oregon teammates Edward Cheserek and Eric Jenkins to push the pace up front. Those three ultimately broke away with two laps to go, and it was Jenkins who kicked best, using a 61.10 final lap to win in a personal best of 27:22.06 and go to #9 on the all-time US list — just ahead of Dathan Ritzenhein.

Just behind Jenkins, Tiernan broke Stewart McSweyn’s year-old Australian record of 27:23.80 by clocking 27:22.55, while Cheserek also hit the Olympic standard with a personal best 27:23.58.

Most impressively, Atkin, the 27-year-old Brit who ran at NAIA Lewis-Clark State in Idaho, hung on and ran 27:26.58 for third — his second personal best in 24 hours. That’s right; Atkin ran 13:18 last night, doubled back to pace the first half of the 10k tonight, then stuck in and didn’t just finish the race, but hit the Olympic standard. He’s now the fourth-fastest Brit of all time, behind Mo Farah, Jon Brown, and Eamonn Martin

MB: Jenkins is back baby!!!
MB: ROBERT MF BRANDT – 27:39 FOR 10K!!!!!!

Discuss the meet on the famous messageboard:
MB: Official The Track Meet 2020 Live Discussion Thread